Events & Festivals Brooklyn

Brooklyn Events & Festivals

There’s always something exciting happening in Brooklyn! From food festivals to cultural celebrations, here are some of the best events and festivals taking place in this bustling borough.

Brooklyn Film Festivals

For film buffs, Brooklyn is a major destination. With multiple annual film festivals dedicated to Brooklyn-made films, New York City classics, and international shorts, there’s plenty to watch in the borough. Don’t miss the Brooklyn Film Festival (BFF) which showcases over 100 feature and short films from around the world!

Brooklyn International Film Festival

Festival Period: June

The Brooklyn International Film Festival screens films by independent filmmakers. Nearly 100 independent films are shown each year and half are from the United States and the rest from various corners of the world. Though held in Brooklyn, the venue or cinema for screening the films may change each year.

Coney Island Film Festival

Festival Period: September or October

The annual Coney Island Film Festival screens independent films from the United States and around the world. Film screenings include feature films, short films, and documentaries. The venues for screenings are the Sideshows by the Seashore Theater and Coney Island Museum, both located at Surf Avenue.

Brooklyn Music Festivals

Brooklyn has an incredible music scene complete with several yearly music festivals that range from classical to EDM and everything in between.

Celebrate Brooklyn!

Festival Period: June to August

The popular BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! The Festival takes place every summer and features free concerts at the Prospect Park Bandshell. This event regularly draws huge audiences for performances by local, national, and international acts.

Celebrate Brooklyn is an outdoor free summer festival with dance, theater, and music performances by emerging and internationally acclaimed artists. There are also free film screenings in the evenings and benefit shows during the festival period.

Art Under the Bridge Festival

Festival Period: September

This is a three-day multi-site art festival held along the East River waterfront between the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges. This free festival is unique with art expressed in various forms including visual, sound, performances, and sometimes involving audience participation. Visitors also have the opportunity to visit the studios of participating artists.

Brooklyn Food Festivals

If you’re a foodie, you won’t want to miss out on the dozens of amazing food festivals taking place throughout the year. Sample cuisines from all over the world at the World Maker Faire or feast on the delicious dishes offered at the Taste of Flatbush Food Festival. Or, get your hands messy with some finger-lickin’ BBQ at the Brooklyn Chili Takedown.

Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest

Festival Period: July 4th

This is a food-eating contest that has been taking place in Brooklyn for a century, involving contestants eating Nathan’s famous hot dogs. The event takes place every year in Coney Island outside Nathan’s original restaurant at the corner of Surf and Stillwell Avenues. The winner is the contestant that eats the most hot dogs in 10 minutes.

Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest
Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest by dj0ser

Atlantic Antic

Festival Period: First Sunday in October

The Atlantic Antic is a street food festival stretching for 1 1/2 miles (2.4 kilometers) along Brooklyn’s Atlantic Avenue. Participating restaurants and bakeries open stalls along the street, offering varieties of foods including ethnic foods such as Italian, Middle Eastern, and Mexican. Besides the food, there are also free music performances.

Brooklyn Cultural Festivals

For unique cultural celebrations, be sure to check out the many cultural festivals that take place throughout Brooklyn. Experience American Indian culture at the Oh Wee Oh Nay Day Festival or kick up your heels for a traditional Caribbean Carnival. There’s also the Nordic Cool Festival which spotlights Icelandic folk music and art. Don’t forget the beloved Atlantic Antic Street Fair which showcases artisans from all over Brooklyn.

Brooklyn Cherry Blossom Festival

Festival Period: April-mid May

Sakuri Matsuri is a Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival in New York City held at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Besides admiring the flowering cherry blossom trees at the botanic garden, the festival is host to several Japanese cultural events and activities including dance performances, traditional tea ceremonies, and craft demonstrations.

Coney Island Mermaid Parade

Festival Period: Saturday in mid or late June

The Coney Island Mermaid Parade is a one-day event that takes place every year in Brooklyn’s Coney Island. The parade is a lively ocean-themed event with a Mardi Gras or carnival-like atmosphere. Participants dress in various marine costumes such as mermaids, shellfish, pirates, King Neptune, and some outrageous.

Coney Island Mermaid Parade
Coney Island Mermaid Parade by Jim Henderson

Final Word

No matter what kind of festival you’re looking for, Brooklyn has something for everyone! There’s always something new and exciting to explore, so plan ahead and make sure you don’t miss out on any of these amazing events.

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