Keeping cool: ‘Embrace Winter’ fest celebrates Bay Ridge arts

On keys: Regina Opera singers Adwoa Asiedu and Danny Oakden, accompanied by pianist Maxine Feldman, rehearse for the free “Embrace Winter” concert on Feb. 24.
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Warm up to winter in the Ridge!

Bay Ridge will show off its artsy side next month at the “Embrace Winter” Festival, with six hours of art exhibits, activities, and performances along Third Avenue. The sixth annual event, happening on March 3, is meant to draw attention to the nabe’s vibrant arts and culture scene, said the founder and president of the Bay Ridge Arts and Cultural Alliance.

“I got tired of hearing about art in every other neighborho­od,” said Victoria Hofmo, who also the founded the Scandinavian East Coast Museum. “People make art no matter where you live, and we have cultural institutions [in Bay Ridge], including museums, that have been around for decades.”

To warm up for the winter festival, Ridgites can head out one week early, on Feb. 24, for a free one-hour kick-off concert from the Regina Opera Company at Vesuvio’s (7305 Third Ave. at 73rd Street). Six singers will launch the concert at 2 pm, belting out tunes from classic operas including “Carmen” and “The Marriage of Figaro,” along with Broadway favorites from “Beauty and the Beast,” “Les Miserables,” and “My Fair Lady.” The variety of tunes is designed to appeal to fans and opera novices alike, said the producer of the show.

“We tried to pick pieces that are interesting and well-known to the audience, because some people coming to the show may not be familiar with opera,” said Francine Gerber.

On March 3, the day of the festival, businesses along Third Avenue from Bay Ridge Avenue to 89th Street will sponsor special arts events from noon until 6 pm. Highlights of the day include:

Kids can learn to make paper roses at the Appletree Natural Market (7613 Third. Ave between 76th and 77th streets) from noon until 4:15 pm.

Charmed Boutique (8311 Third Ave. between 83rd and 84th streets) will display watercolor fashion illustrations created by 96-year-old Elsie Willumsen back when she was a youngster at the Textile High School on the distant isle of Manhattan. Plus, if the fashion design drawings inspire you to upgrade your own wardrobe, the store will offer 20% off all purchases.

At happy hour, adults can head to the Salty Dog (7509 Third Ave. between Bay Ridge Parkway and 76th Street), where Joseph Anatasi and Ira Bolterman of the Lovebutton Musical Duo will play rock, blues, and country tunes starting at 4:15 pm.

Finally, the day will end with a documentary about every Brooklynite’s favorite street game: stickball! “When Broomsticks Were King,” by Park Slope’s Jay Cusato, will screen at Hom (8806 Third Ave. between 88th and 89th streets) at 5:30 pm, and producer Jake King will be on hand for a post-screening question and answer session.

“Regina Opera Embraces Winter” at Vesuvio’s [7305 Third Ave. at 73rd Street in Bay Ridge). Feb. 24 at 2 pm. Free.

Embrace Winter Festival (Third Avenue between Bay Ridge Avenue and 89th Street in Bay Ridge). March 3, noon–6 pm. Free.

Reach reporter Julianne McShane at (718) 260–2523 or by e-mail at Follow her on Twitter @juliannemcshane.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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