This week in New York there is a festival for every interest—go to one or make the rounds. There’s the Comedy in Dance Festival, the Havana Film Festival, the Brooklyn Film Festival, and, finally, a BBQ Cook-off in Staten Island (to help fuel future festival-going). Or, get out of the city and head to Hershey, Pennsylvania to preview the amusement park’s summer offerings and partake in chocolate and beer tasting.
AFAR Local is our weekly insider guideto the best of what's happening in cities around the U.S.
April 7–10 | Comedy
Comedy in Dance Festival
Comedy and dance don’t often go hand in hand, which is one of the many things that makes the Comedy in Dance Festival (now in its seventh year) so special. Taking place over four days at the Muriel Schulman Theater in Brooklyn, this curated festival features “movement-based work from choreographers, clowns, and comics.” Performances range from comedic meditations on the 9-to-5 grind to a piece that uses 3D-projection mapping technology and personal footage from the artist's (Cari Ann Shim Sham) airplane trips to “explore the effects of turbulence on the human form.”
8 p.m. | 106 Calyer St., Brooklyn | From $16 | website
April 7–15 | Movies
Havana Film Festival
Film buffs will want to check out the 17th annual Havana Film Festival, which showcases feature films, shorts, animated features, documentaries, and classics from Cuba, Latin America, the Caribbean, and Latinos in the States. The weeklong festival features 40 screenings, as well as panel discussions designed to cultivate dialogue between the audience, producers, directors, and actors. Among the many stellar films, highlights include the opening night showing of The Companion and the closing night New York premier of Papa: Hemingway in Cuba, which is the first Hollywood film to shoot on location in Cuba since 1959. The films have English subtitles, so don’t worry if your Spanish is a bit rusty.
Times and locations vary | From $10 | website
April 8–10 | Music
Brooklyn Folk Festival
Are you into old-time string-band music, folk, blues, or bluegrass? What about traditional Irish or Balkan music? If you answered yes to any of the above, then you won’t want to miss the eighth annual Brooklyn Folk Festival, presented by Down Home Radio Show and Red Hook’s Jalopy Theater. The three-day festival will feature established and emerging bands and singer-songwriters, workshops, jam sessions, film screenings, a square dance, and even a banjo toss contest (you’ll have to go to find out what the heck that means for yourself). Passes are available for half-day and full-day sessions, as well as for the entire festival.
Times vary | St. Ann’s Church, 157 Montague St., Brooklyn | From $20 | website
April 9 | Food
NYC BBQ Cook-off
If you’ve been looking for an excuse to make the journey to Staten Island, the NYC BBQ Cook-off is here to help (and if you live on Staten Island, even better)! The only cook-off in New York sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbecue Society, this annual event draws smoked meat aficionados from all around the city. Sample dozens of dishes from serious pit masters, who will be judged in four categories: beef brisket, pulled pork, pork ribs, and chicken. The cook-off takes place at Historic Richmond Town, a town and farm complex dating back to the 17th century with more than 30 original structures and over 130,000 historic artifacts.
12–4 p.m. | 441 Clarke Ave., Staten Island | From $12.75 | website
April 9–10 | Escape the city
The ever-popular Hersheypark is opening its doors this weekend for Springtime in the Park, when visitors can preview all the park will offer in the summer in terms of rides, roller coasters, live entertainment, and characters. The official resorts of Hersheypark (Hershey Lodge, the Hotel Hershey, and Hersheypark Camping Resort) are also offering a corresponding package so be sure to inquire. And while you can spend all your time in the theme park, the town of Hershey also has a lot to offer outside those walls. Attached to Hersheypark is ZooAmerica North American Wildlife Park, which features animals indigenous to North America set across 11 acres. Chocolate lovers won’t want to miss Hershey’s Chocolate World, while beer aficionados will want to tour Tröegs Brewing Company and sample their suds. Finally, for a fabulous farm-to-table dinner in a historic mill, don’t miss a meal at The Mill restaurant.
A native New Yorker, Katherine is a freelance food and travel writer who has eaten her way across the globe and is always on the lookout for her next great meal. She is an avid reader, insatiable traveler, sometimes photographer, and mom to an inquisitive toddler.