Today’s news:

Thousands flock to this year’s Graham Avenue Fiesta

Despite an ominous forecast, the weather held out for Saturday’s Graham Avenue Fiesta, the annual introduction to summer presented by the Graham Avenue Business Improvement District on the bustling Williamsburg commercial strip known as the “Avenue of Puerto Rico.”

The BID – which encompasses Broadway to Boerum Street – teamed up with Clearview Festivals, the city’s largest festival producer, to produce an event that drew around 50,000 people descending from all corners of the city.

Festival−goers enjoyed live music of ten Latino bands, who played on a stage set up on Graham between Boerum and McKibbin streets. They also enjoyed the street−fair−style food, and took advantage of the many sales specials offered by the merchants of Graham Avenue, Williamsburg’s largest shopping strip.

For the young ones, “kiddie rides” were set up along the avenue. The MTA showed up with its Reduced Passes Van, and Woodhull Medical Center brought a van to provide free health screenings.

The event benefited from the volunteer contributions of the 90th Precinct Auxiliary officers along with Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow, the non−profit organization that trains young people for the workforce.

In a show of unity within the Latino community, representatives from some of the prominent Latino parades in the city – such as the Puerto Rican Day Parade and the Three Kings Day Parade – showed up to say a few words.

Also on hand was Borough President Marty Markowtiz, who presented a proclamation to the Graham Avenue BID, Councilmember Diana Reyna, and Deputy Inspector Michael Kemper, the Commanding Officer of Williamsburg’s 90th Precinct.

Rep. Nydia Velazquez also showed up to present a $94,000 check to the BID to help fund its annual summer farmers market off Graham Avenue and Cook Street.

“The farmers market on Graham Avenue is a wonderful summertime tradition. It brings fresh, healthy foods to the community while supporting entrepreneurship,” Velazquez said.

In 2005, Velazquez provided $100,000 to help the market expand its scope.

The market was created in the mid 1980s by the old Graham Avenue Merchants Association, a precursor the BID. This year, the market starts July 11th and will run through the end of October every Saturday and Sunday from 8 am through 5:30 pm.

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