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African-American Heritage Festival And Several Other Cultural Heritage Celebrations Cancelled Or On Hold

Cultural Heritage Celebrations Status Update For 2020

Every year Westchester looks forward to the Hudson Valley’s favorite international festival series that celebrate the arts, culture, and history, and community spirit— right at Kensico Dam. The festival series invites us to explore our history and the county’s rich cultural diversity with displays of poetry, visual arts, song, ethnic food, and a wide variety of music.

Unfortunately, as Westchester residents deal with navigating our new normal we all face, several events in Westchester County Parks’ annual Cultural Heritage Celebrations series have been canceled due to the ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“These are some of my favorite events to attend, but right now, we all must put safety first,” County Executive George Latimer shares with Black Westchester. “The Cultural Heritage series is something many of us look forward to, both to celebrate our own personal heritage or to enjoy learning about the food, music, dance, and heritage of other cultures that contribute to the great mosaic of Westchester’s population – things that cannot be done while keeping a safe distance.”

Each year, thousands of Westchester residents gather at these colorful and lively festivals at Kensico Dam Plaza in Valhalla and Ridge Road Park in Hartsdale. These celebrations, of all heritages, attract far too many residents to abide by safety guidelines that are handed down from the National Center for Disease Control and New York State.

Festivals cancelled so far are:

  • Polish Heritage Festival – Kensico Dam Plaza, Sunday, May 17
  • Asian Heritage Festival – Kensico Dam Plaza, Saturday, June 6
  • Albanian Heritage Festival – Kensico Dam Plaza, Sunday, June 7
  • Portuguese Heritage Festival – Ridge Road Park, Sunday, June 7
  • Irish Heritage Festival – Ridge Road Park, Saturday, June 27
  • African American Heritage Festival – Kensico Dam Plaza, Sunday, June 28
  • Hispanic Heritage Festival – Kensico Dam Plaza, Sunday, July 12

Festivals on hold are:

  • Italian Heritage Festival – Kensico Dam Plaza, Sunday, July 19
  • Heritage of India Festival – Kensico Dam Plaza, Sunday, Aug. 2
  • Ecuadorian Festival – Croton Point Park, Sunday, Aug. 9
  • Jewish Heritage Festival – Kensico Dam Plaza, Sunday, Aug. 16
  • Muslim Heritage Festival – Kensico Dam Plaza, Sunday, Aug. 23

“With thousands of people coming to a festival at a park, we simply don’t have a way to assure proper social distancing, especially with the nature of these events that involve food and craft sales, gathering to enjoy performances and other actions that cause closer contact,” CE Latimer said.

Damon K. Jones (BW), Sandra Blackwell (County Press) & AJ Woodson (BW) African-Americans In Media honored at the 32nd African-American Heritage Festival [Black Westchester]

In the summer of 2016, Black Westchester’s Damon K. Jones (Publisher) and AJ Woodson (Editor-In-Chief) and Westchester County Press’ Sandra Blackwell were among the African-Americans In Media were honored at the 32nd African-American Heritage Day.

The African-American Heritage Day Celebration is a time when the community comes together in an atmosphere of fun and fellowship to enjoy the history and culture of the Motherland. It’s one of the largest and exciting events held in Westchester County.

The Parks Department will evaluate the scheduling of all community events throughout the summer and into the fall.  

Stay tuned to Black Westchester for any additional cancellations, postponements, or rescheduling. You can also find that information posted at


About AJ Woodson (2398 Articles)
AJ Woodson is the Editor-In-Chief of Black Westchester and Co-Owner of Urban Soul Media Group, the parent company. AJ is a Father, Brother, Author, Writer, Journalism Fellow, Rapper, Radio Personality, Hip-Hop Historian and A Freelance Journalist whose byline has appeared in several print publications and online sites including The Source, Vibe, the Village Voice, Upscale,,, Rolling Out Newspaper, Spiritual Minded Magazine and several others.
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