Art, music, and culture in Hudson County Ten reasons you should have stayed local in 2007

For the best live theater, original art, music, films, and festivals, one needs to travel no further than their own neighborhood.

2007 was no exception, offering locals their fill of exciting entertainment.

While there are great events in each town all year long, we’ve compiled a list of favorites in no particular order.

Artist Studio Tours exhibit the best original artwork around. Both Hoboken and Jersey City are host cities to the hundreds of artists who participate in the annual autumn events. While most towns have well-attended art shows, Jersey City beats most in terms of size: More than 500 artists participate.

The Hoboken Arts & Music Festival, the biannual event on Washington Street, features over 300 vendors and fantastic music on two stages. This year’s fall festival had special significance with former local bands headlining the event, such as The Bongos and Chris Stamey of the dBs.

JC Fridays, a quarterly all-day event of free art, music, and theater in Jersey City, has grown to attract over a thousand people to each “Friday.” The event will expand next year with a joint partnership with the city of Jersey City, Cultural Affairs, the Division of Economic Development, and the Jersey City Economic Development Corporation. Christine Goodman, founder of Art House Productions and the creative mind behind “JC Fridays” recently was awarded a proclamation for her efforts.

Free Summer Concerts in Weehawken by Hudson Riverfront Performing Arts Center (HRPAC) were performed with the backdrop of the Manhattan skyline in Lincoln Harbor Park. This summer, the Fabulous Soul Shakers, Grammy-winner Eddie Palmieri, and rocker Jonatha Brooke were part of the line-up. Eventually, HRPAC plans to build a permanent structure on the waterfront.

The Black Maria Film & Video Festival, which began in 1981 at New Jersey City University, has continued to award and exhibit works from independent film and video directors. The festival is an international competition and tour that screens the winners at area museums and businesses.

Each year, the Cuban Day Parade in North Hudson marches down Bergenline Avenue from 79th Street in North Bergen and winds down to 31st Street in Union City. This past June was the eighth year for the parade, which is sponsored by the Latin American Kiwanis of North Hudson. Although this past year there was a question as to whether the parade would be allowed to march through West New York, it eventually did and was well-attended by locals and guests alike.

St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Hoboken paints the town green! This annual parade, which is held the first Saturday of the month in March, draws thousands of people, who line up for the march down Washington Street and then pack the local bars and restaurants. This year went off smoothly even with the delayed opening time for bars that was suggested by members of the City Council.

Encore, Encore! Now in its second year, The Hudson County One-Act festival at the Center for Performing Arts at DeBaun, brings together local theater companies from neighboring towns. This September included performances by the Attic Theater, the Hudson Exploited Theater Company, Art House Productions, and The Theater Company, and others.

A Taste of … Locals know they can get a taste of everything at the annual Taste of Hoboken or Taste of Weehawken. The Taste of Hoboken, held in November, is the largest annual fundraiser for the North Hudson YMCA. A Taste of Weehawken, now in its seventh year, is held in April and is the largest fundraiser for the Weehawken Public Library. Not to be outdone, Union City held their first Taste of Union City at Jose Marti Middle School and plan to make it an annual event.

And … These are only some of the events to enjoy throughout the year. Other exciting events include Hoboken’s Italian festivals, North Hudson’s ethnic parades, free jazz concerts at Liberty State Park, plays at Union City’s Park Theater, county-wide outdoor Shakespeare, and more.

For more on this year’s events, including film festivals and concerts, see the Reporter’s weekly entertainment newspaper, the Hudson Current, at www.hudsoncurrent.com.

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