Newport Cultural Festival offers music, cuisine and fun for kids

The Newport Neighborhood Association (NNA) will host its fourth annual International Cultural Festival on Saturday, Sept. 25, from 12 noon to 7 p.m. on Town Square Place, just outside the Newport/Pavonia PATH station, in Jersey City’s downtown Newport community.
Last year’s festival drew roughly 2,500 people to Newport. This year’s event will have something for all ages and something new, including showcasing a bike show by Grove Street Bicycles, several new performers and Legos for kids.
“The Festival is a multi-cultural event that will celebrate the rich diversity of Newport and Jersey City,” said Robert Vivien, NNA president. He added that “the festival is also a charity benefit to raise funds that will enable the NNA to continue the NNA Scholarship Fund for an eligible student.”
Vivien said, “The festival’s substantive purpose is to address the needs of an eligible student dedicated to serving the community by providing a scholarship for him/her to fulfill a dream of attending college or for an at-risk youth to attend an afterschool program.”

A variety of musical acts scheduled

Besides featuring a large cross-section of music and dance including Asian, Indian, Latino and American, the celebratory part of the festival has local teen sensation Brady Cudmore with his band, Aphrodesia, who will perform pop tunes and dance numbers. Brady has a large following among Jersey City public school students.
Also appearing is ANEJO, fronted by Newport employee Willie Maldonado, which will provide ample rhythms to get everyone up and dancing. Coming back to the Newport stage is the electric Indian dance troupe, Ayesha’s Bollywood Funk NYC, which thrilled last year’s audience. China will amply be represented as both the New Tang Dynasty dancers will perform with the mystery and grace of the Orient as well as Chinese Boy, who will play an authentic ARHOO. The Doo Wop legends, “Select Blendz” will sing acapella classics of the ‘50s and ‘60s.
The children’s portion of the show includes local violin instructor Muhammad Bilal’s Childrens Classical Music Ensemble, which is comprised of a collection of up to two dozen kids who performed a breathtaking violin interpretation of Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy;” Kala’s Indian children dancers, Legos for Kids brought to you by The LEGOMASTER and face painters and clowns round out the children’s portion of the Festival.

Food and drink aplenty

There will be plenty of fine cuisine from several cultures to choose from, including the French fare of Hoboken based “The Crepe Grill,” delights from Amiya’s north Indian cuisine and Newport’s CC Caterers, who specialize in South Indian cuisine, the Mexican dishes of Boca Grande, the Asian Fusion of Nanking, and dishes by the two most prominent Newport restaurants, the Italian fare of Newport’s own Michael Anthony’s Restaurant and the seafood of South City Grill. The Middle East will be represented by Taboulle Grill from the Newport Mall, with the lighter fare of wraps from Tommy2 Scoops.
Michael Anthony’s will be there to serve a selection of fine wines and Samuel Adams, Yuengling Lager and Coors Light beer. Need a pick me up to go with desserts? Check out the fine pastries and coffees of the Cocoa Bakery, Jersey City’s newest addition founded by Jessica Issacs, former pastry chef at New York City’s Nobu Restaurant, as well as the homemade gelato of Tommy2 Scoops.
Kids will enjoy the clowns and face painting as well as the children’s boutique, Giggles n Barks. Christ Hospital will have tables to provide blood pressure testing, Modells Sporting Goods will hold raffles, Metro PCS will be signing folks up for new cell phone service, and Mandarin Together Fun will sign folks up for Chinese language classes.
And to meet the NNA’s goal of establishing the NNA Scholarship Fund, there will be an auction and raffle to raise funds with donated items from prominent local merchants, including a weekend stay at the posh new Newport WESTIN with other prizes from donors such as several leading local restaurants, including Confucius. Donations were also provided by downtown merchants Canis Minor Pet Boutique, New York Sports Club, Runner’s High, Big Drum FRAME Shop, and Carol’s Daughter.
The Festival is accessible by public transportation. Town Square Place/Pavonia Avenue is directly across from the Newport Pavonia PATH station and around the corner from the Newport Bergen-Hudson Light Rail stop by the Newport Centre Mall. There is also ample parking with garages nearby the Festival grounds. The RAIN Date is Saturday, Oct. 2, noon to 7 pm.

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