Coney welcomes new tradition with first annual Busker Festival

August 23, 2016 Jaime DeJesus
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Although summer is winding down, Coney Island is still bringing the fun by starting new traditions.

On Saturday, August 20, the first annual Coney Island Busker Fest was held at Surf and Stillwell Avenues.

From 12:30 -7 p.m., attendees were treated to entertainment, including music and magic by street performers.

“We’re basically trying to create another signature event for Coney Island during the summer time,” said Executive Director of the Alliance for Coney Island Johanna Zaki. “We have the Mermaid Parade in June and the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest in July so we were looking for a third event that would excite everyone so we came up with the Coney Island Busker Festival.”

With support from the New York City Council and local Councilmember Mark Treyger, the street welcomed a festival of street performers known as the best throughout the world.

“We had five performance areas at the event,” said Zaki, citing the People’s Playground Pitch; Steeplechase Pitch; Beer, Brass and Beats Pitch; Cirquetacular Pitch and Sideshow Pitch.  “There were over 25 performers including Coney Island Sideshow acts, jugglers, musicians and acrobatics. They’ve performed throughout the world and were all pretty popular. During performances, anywhere from 100 to 150 people were watching them.”

Despite it being the first event of its kind at Coney, Zaki and the Alliance were both pleased. “We were very happy with the production of the event,” she said. “We set it up outside the train station so that it was very eye-catching. As people came out of the station, their automatic response was, what’s going on. It went very well. “

The event benefited from the nice weather and the 26th Annual Sand Sculpting Contest, helping it “capture the summer audience,” Zaki said, hoping that it becomes a future event. “But, we are looking to capture a larger audience in the future.”

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