‘A labor of love’: Brighton Jubilee, a celebration of nabe’s ‘melting pot’ of culture, to return

Hundreds flock to Brighton Beach for the Brighton Jubilee for food, bargain shopping and entertainment.
Photo courtesy of Pat Singer

The Brighton Jubilee will take over its namesake nabe and thoroughfare this Sunday when it returns for the 45th year of fun for the whole family.

The annual street fair is organized each year by the Brighton Neighborhood Association. Its president, Pat Singer, started the event in 1977 to show the strength of Brighton Beach in the face of a reported spike in crime and deterioration of the area at the time. 

“I love putting the Jubilee together. It’s a labor of love,” said Singer. “I enjoy when people stop me in the street and ask ‘When is the Jubilee coming?’ I can’t help but get a big smile on my face.”

Festival-goers peruse through the delicious plates on sale at the Brighton Jubilee.File photo

Now, the annual affair celebrates the many immigrants from different ethnicities and backgrounds that make the seaside neighborhood a unique cultural destination. Although residents hail from counties all over the world, Brighton Beach is predominantly made up of immigrants from the former Soviet Union, several Spanish-speaking countries and Pakistan.

“The Jubilee allows us ‘bragging rights’ on how harmonious our multi-population has become and how this community is striving and succeeding in a free society,” Singer said.

On Aug. 28, Brighton Beach Avenue will be home to multiple featuring music from all over the world — beginning with Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. Frankie Marra and his band will kick off the day’s performances on Brighton 14th Street, which will include a slate of other bands local to the southwestern Broklyn nabe. Brighton 11th Street will play host to a suite of Russian performers, led by Russian radio station Freedom FM, and the flutes of Peru will take over a stage on Coney Island Avenue. 

Musical groups galore perform at the annual street fair.File photo by Erica Price

Adding to the “melting pot”atmosphere, there will be a variety of great food from various cultural cuisines on sale to enlighten your taste buds. To boot, informational booths from city agencies and local nonprofits will line the thoroughfare to stimulate your brain.

The rest of the streets that comprise the street festival will be home to wheels and deals — literally. Visitors can shop bargains from local stores that set up tables and Brooklyn Mercedes Benz will display some of their newest models. 

Proceeds from the Brighton Jubilee will go towards the Brighton Neighborhood Association’s many programs and projects throughout the year. Singer says the group’s mission is to help revitalize the neighborhood through housing, senior services, immigrant outreach, combating quality of life issues and more.

Singer hopes this year’s event will be back to full strength, despite all odds, after the Brighton Jubilee was forced to defy obstacles that have stood in its way the last two years. First, organizers dealt with the coronavirus pandemic, which canceled the event in 2020 and softened its relaunch in 2021, and this now, they don’t have a headquarters for the day of the street fair.

“This year was a little difficult. Nobody let us use their store to headquarters for two days,” Singer told Brooklyn Paper. “The Brighton Neighborhood Association has been around for four decades and those residents who have visited our office for advice and/or advocacy know how important it is to be treated like a person, not a number.”

There’s always fun for the kiddos in store at the Brighton Jubilee.File photo

After four decades, Singer said the group has been asked to leave their longtime headquarters at Chase Bank on Brighton Beach Avenue. And, unfortunately, none of the other stores on the thoroughfare have stepped up to lend the space for the two days the association would have needed for this year.

“It’s important to know there is someone in your community who is like an extended family and is there to help you and wants to help you,” Singer said.

Looking toward the future, well beyond just this weekend’s event, organizers are also raising funds to support the association’s search for accessible accommodations for accessible office space.

“The Jubilee raised needed funds and now that we have been asked to leave our Chase Bank office after four decades makes raising funds truly a desperate need, so our organization can go on,” Singer told Brooklyn Paper.