The first Harlem Week in 1974 -- simply “Harlem Day” -- was a one-day tribute that proved so astonishingly and unexpectedly successful that more days were needed to showcase the community’s rich economic, political and cultural history -- to say nothing of the current, ever increasing artistic talent in Harlem. Above all, in its unique way, it was a day of encouragement and fellowship for New Yorkers in general and Harlemites in particular, many of whom had struggled for some years to see a positive future for Urban America.
Each year, Harlem Week, New York City’s largest outdoor festival, has produced new activities highlighting another of the many positive and relevant aspects of the African-American, Latino, Caribbean-American, and European-American cultures of Harlem. In fact, in the same way that Black History Month is celebrated for more than four weeks, Harlem Week is more than a week, with many key events celebrated quite joyously throughout all of August and beyond.
The theme of this year’s Harlem Week is focused on “The Children of Haiti,” recognizing that the beautiful children of this island nation has suffered mightily and disproportionately because of the recent floods and earthquakes. Therefore, Harlem Week is dedicating the summer of 2010 to supporting “The Children of Haiti” and they invite all others to join them on this effort.
They particularly ask that you join them in person, on Saturday, August 21st as the New York Family Health Walk-A-Thon will encourage thousands of New Yorkers, tourists, visitors and others from across the region to walk through picturesque and historic Harlem as they raise funds to provide clothing and educational materials to send to the children of Haiti.
This effort is being presented by The Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce and the Honorary Chairperson is Congressman Charles B. Rangel. They are working closely with the New York Road Runners and will partner with the Clinton Foundation Initiative to support Haiti. So, any time between now and August 30th that you may wish, please make a contribution which will go directly to the Clinton Foundation to support Harlem’s tribute to “The Children of Haiti.”
One of Harlem Week’s not-to-be-missed highlights is scheduled for August 14th from 2-8pm: Uptown Saturday Nite, a free event taking place on W. 135th St. from Malcolm X Blvd. to St. Nicholas Ave., highlighted by live music featuring performances of the Electric Slide and a reggae Dance Tribute to Bob Marley. The day also includes the National Historic Black College Fair & Expo, and the Children’s Festival, which takes place over two days on the 14th & 15th (Harlem Day), focusing much of its entertainment and exhibits around recreation and exercise to promote a healthier, more active lifestyle to children and families.
And then it’s time for Harlem Day (August 15th), the biggest event of the month. This daylong extravaganza of events is held on multiple stages with live performances and entertainment. All performances take place on 135th Street and run until 7pm. Another crowd favorite, the Upper Manhattan Auto Show, runs from 10am to 7pm, and the Health Fair and Children’s Festival continue.
Harlem Week has become America’s largest cultural celebration, and each year, it attracts millions of individuals to Harlem, the world’s most famous neighborhood to share traditions, new trends, and that incomparable joie de vivre -- which is nothing more than Harlem style.
For a complete schedule of Harlem Week events, visit harlemweek.com or call 212-862-8477.
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