Bay Ridge embraces winter again

Getting people out of the house to revel in winter.

That was the goal as the Bay Ridge Arts and Cultural Alliance (BRACA) hosted Bay Ridge’s Seventh Embrace Winter Festival.

Held this year on Sat., Feb. 16, inside stores along Third Avenue, from 69th to 89th streets, the event was designed to link area businesses with local arts and cultural organizations and individuals, to support each other and offer the community a fun event that also works to promote all participants.

“It went really well,” said founder of BRACA Victoria Hofmo. “I was really happy with it because we had new people, new businesses and new artists that joined. We had  arts and crafts, and the Children’s Chorus of Bay Ridge and Real Celtic performing. Of course we did opera [thanks to Regina Opera]. Everyone was really pleased with how it went. The response was great.”

The day also included art displays, and appearances by favorite children’s characters like Olaf from “Frozen.”

Businesses and organizations that participated included Salty Dog, Green Spa and Wellness Center, Circles Cafe, the Guild for Exceptional Children, Cosentino’s​, the Scandinavian East Coast Museum  and more.

“Businesses can promote their own things as well,” Hofmo said. “That’s the idea and people enjoyed it. I think it’s an easy thing to be a part of. it doesn’t cost anything. You promote what you have. It’s a time of year that’s not very busy and you don’t have to shut down streets or anything like that so it’s made very simple.”

Artist and participant Aeilushi Mistry, a professional dancer as well as a professionally trained folk artist practitioner, was really pleased with the event.

She shared Shubhakamana. Noting that the name means “many best wishes,” she said that it was “a tradition from my culture and a composition inspired by my work, paying homage to the journey. I’m honored to put all this together in one plane.”

The event, stressed Hofmo, draws on everything Bay Ridge has to offer. “We’ve done different things but one thing I really wanted to do was hold an event at a time of the year when it wasn’t very busy and support businesses and different cultural groups,” she told this paper.“We’re just kind of forgotten, but it’s a very old neighborhood with a lot of rich culture so I thought we should support each other and it should encompass everyone.”


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