Fifteen free events More parades, events coming

In August alone, there are four free festivals and eight free concerts scheduled in Jersey City.

The city’s Division of Cultural Affairs works with other city agencies, and seeks event funding from private corporations rather than taxpayers.

“These events foster a sense of pride in one’s community and bring many different parts of that community together,” said Maryann Kelleher-Arango, director of the division.Jazz for lunch

One series is co-sponsored by Goldman Sachs at their building at 30 Hudson St.

The Jazz for Lunch music series is held every Thursday between July and August in front of the building at noon. Upcoming Jazz for Lunch concerts include Don Carter, Aug. 17, and James Dean, Aug. 24.

Don Carter has been a professional musician and educator since 1971. He has performed with Dizzie Gillespie, Count Basie, and Tito Puente.

James L. Dean got his start leading bands in the late ’60s in the Navy. His big band has backed people from Frankie Avalon to Melba Moore. His repertoire emphasizes a modern, offbeat sound.

But there’s more. Ethnic fests

In August and September, there are seven ethnic and cultural festivals taking place. Many are at Exchange Place.

Festivals feature the cultural heritage of the Pakistanis, Polish, and Puerto Ricans, as well as Greeks, Chinese, African-Americans, and the Irish.

Several other ethnic celebrations already have passed. Those to come include:

Aug. 13 – Pakistani Festival, Exchange Place, 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Aug. 19 & 20 – Puerto Rican Parade and Festival, Exchange Place, 12 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Aug. 27 – Polish Festival, Washington St. (bet. Sussex and Grand streets) 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Sept. 10 – Greek Festival, Exchange Place, 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Sept. 23 – Chinese Festival, Liberty State Park, 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Sept. 24 – African-American Festival, MLK Plaza, 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Sept. 30 – Irish Festival, Exchange Place, 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. Another music series

A local restaurant has also pitched in.

Liberty House Restaurant located in Liberty State Park provides a home for the Summerfest Music Series in the garden area behind the restaurant.

The Summerfest Concert Series is free and open to the public, and takes place at the restaurant, 76 Audrey Zapp Drive, in Liberty State Park.

Concerts are held on Sundays from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Tuesdays from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Upcoming Summerfest performances are as follows:

Aug. 13 – Mack Sullivan
Aug. 15 – John Christian
Aug. 20 – Los Seis Del Son
Aug. 22 – Don Carter
Aug. 27 – Moonlighters
Aug. 29 – Fortune
Giving the people some culture

Kelleher-Arango said Cultural Affairs focuses on visual and performing arts, and ethnic pride and civic pride.

She said that year-round planning goes into creating summer and other annual events, with some downtime in November.

Kelleher-Arango commended her fellow employees.

“You have Greg Brickey who has curated art exhibits in City Hall and elsewhere, Joan Moore has organized so many parades and knows all the contacts by heart that she could put them together blindfolded, and Cliff Perkins with our concerts is a tremendous help as he himself is an entertainer,” said Kelleher-Arango. “That enables me to work on some of the larger events such as the city’s Fourth of July Freedomfest concert and fireworks celebration in Liberty State Park.”

Cultural Affairs is looking forward to organizing future activities.

“We want to bring an Art Saturdays for the kids since so many of our events are geared primarily toward adults,” said Kelleher-Arango.

Kelleher-Arango also said she wants to bring artists to the City Hall Council Chambers for a few hours every Saturday afternoon to teach sculpture, painting, or any other art mediums.

For more information about various events, contact Jersey City’s Division of Cultural Affairs at (201) 547-6921. Ricardo Kaulessar can be reached at