When most hear Brighton Beach, they think “Russians.” But the annual Brighton Jubilee, now in its 34th year, proves that the neighborhood is far more of an ethnic medley than many know.
I paid my first visit to the annual Brighton Jubilee yesterday, and was fired up to find a vibrant market fair as diverse as it was enormous. It wasn’t all kebabs and pirozhi, as I was expecting, but a five-block stretch of Latino, African, Caribbean, Arab and, yes, Russian immigrant vendors (not to mention old-school Brooklynites) selling some the strangest assortment of products I’ve ever seen at a street fair.
Used and new clothes, toys, gag items, jewelry, hand-made crafts, artwork, fur hats, sheets (!) – this wasn’t your usual “I ♥ [enter ethnicity]” fair, ringed with the ubiquitous Italian sausage-mobiles (though they made an appearance). It was far more complex, and vastly more intense – it was easily the most interesting neighborhood festival I’ve visited in Brooklyn.
And it was packed. Tens of thousands of people flooded Brighton Beach Avenue between Coney Island Avenue and Brighton 14th Street. In between picking through the odd assortment of goods, sun-drenched visitors watched performers brought in by Radio Pzitiv and Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz, played on inflatable rides or did a bit of Rock Band karaoke.
No word yet on how much money it raised for the event’s organizers, Brighton Neighborhood Association. The money goes to fund all the groups activities, including senior services, tenant services, social services, youth services and quality of life programs. We’ll let you know when we hear the final numbers.
Enjoy the photos of the fair, and if you have any to add just e-mail them to us at nberke [at] sheepsheadbites [dot] com.