Brighton shiny: Festival in Little Odessa celebrates 40th year

Brighton shiny: Festival in Little Odessa celebrates 40th year
The more the merrier: The Brighton Beach Jubilee, happening on Aug. 28, has drawn thousands of visitors over the last 40 years.
Photo by Steve Solomonson

This year’s party will be extra jubilant!

The annual Brighton Beach Jubilee will reach a milestone this weekend, celebrating 40 years of music, food, and family entertainment in the seaside nabe known as “Little Odessa.” The festival on Aug. 28 will offer visitors a taste of Russia with a smorgasbord of food and treats, and it attracts more than 125,000 people every year from all different backgrounds, said its organizer.

“We attract a global community, you see every culture here and I think that’s wonderful and represents what New York City is all about,” said Pat Singer, who started the festival in 1977. “Wherever you turn there’s something going on, and you have music and food. It’s a cultural experience and it’s so beautiful to be near the Boardwalk. It gives us a showcase of Brighton Beach — it’s a great town.”

The annual food, music, and entertainment-filled event has expanded over the years to fill six blocks of Brighton Beach Avenue, just a block from the Boardwalk. The ocean-side view enhances the fun of the festival, said Singer.

“You’re in the heart of Brighton, you can sit down and have caviar and enjoy all the festivities going on,” she said. “And you’re a block from the beach so it’s all good.”

Brighton early: Mayor Koch stopped by the now-40-year-old Brighton Jubilee during its early years.
Community Newspaper Group / File photo

During the summer shindig, two stages will host musical acts, including a group of Russian performers sponsored by Russian-language radio station Radio Danu, which is based in the neighborhood. But the festival’s headlining act will be famed Bay Ridge rock group Frankie Marra and His Band, which aims to get the crowd dancing with its covers of classic rock tunes such as Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone” and America’s “Sister Golden Hair.” The Aug. 28 show will be an encore for the five-piece, which last played the Jubilee 15 years ago, and Marra said that he is excited to return.

“It’s one of the great events of Brooklyn,” he said. “It’s always great at my age, at 62, to get people to come and watch you,” he said. “It’s always very humbling — a thrill and an honor. We’re honored and humbled to be doing it as long as we can.”

The joyous Jubilee has developed a loyal following in its 40 years, said Singer, because it offers events that everyone can enjoy,.

“We’re never disappointed, people have a glorious time here — I do, I love it,” she said. “Something for every member of the family. They’ve been here for 40 years, so we must be doing something right.”

Brighton Beach Jubilee [Brighton Beach Avenue at Coney Island Avenue in Brighton Beach, (718) 891–0800, www.brightonbeach.com.] Aug. 28, 10 am–6 pm. Free.

Local celebrities!: The Brighton Beach Jubilee has been a regular stop for New York City mayors. In 2009, Mayor Bloomberg greeted festival director Pat Singer, while Russian-language media mogul Gregory Davidzon, left, looks on.
Photo by Butch Moran

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.

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