September Is a Brooklyn Festival

by Dennis Holt

BROOKLYN — Most people think of September as the transitional month, more so than any of the spring months. The summer ends in September; kids, usually with long faces, traipse back to school; the football seasons begins; leaves get ready for their swan song; and those who don’t like the winter begin to frown.

But September in Brooklyn has become the Big Events month, and I don’t think any other month can quite match all the stuff going on in the ninth month.

The Atlantic Antic, now in its 37th year, is usually held on the last Sunday of September, but this year it’s on Oct. 2. It has become one of the largest street fairs in the city.

(I can remember the first one, involving only a few blocks, maybe 20 vendors, sparse enough that some street retailers urged that we forget about next year: thankfully that didn’t happen.)

The Antic has now been joined by two other major league events — the Brooklyn Book Festival on Sept. 18 and the DUMBO Arts Festival, Sept. 23 to 25.

The Book Festival has in only a few years reached international status. Frankly, I never thought I would live to see the day that a Brooklyn event would be advertised in the London Review of Books, but so it was.

The goings on now include four days, Thursday through Sunday, and special events associated with the festival are held all over the borough, this year in Cobble Hill, DUMBO, Bushwick, Williamsburg, Dyker Heights, Fort Greene, Mill Basin, Park Slope and Greenpoint.

No one can possibly see everything. There are 32 fiction programs, 24 non-fiction, eight international fiction programs and 16 others covering comics, youth and poetry.

One hardly gets over that before the DUMBO Arts Festival takes off — a three-day extravaganza of art, music and performance. Now in its 15th year, the festival last year began to experience problems, and Two Trees Management took over as manager and got AT&T as the major sponsor.

The program now includes 11 open studios, 24 indoor projects and exhibitions, 22 outdoor projects and exhibitions, 29 music performances, and a variety of books and readings and family events and activities. This year the active month is joined by two other celebrations. On Friday, Sept. 16, Jane’s Carousel begins going around for the public in a striking new pavilion in the DUMBO part of Brooklyn Bridge Park. The carousel will be open every day except Tuesday from 11 a.m to 7 p.m. It can safely be said that no other merry-go-round in the city, and probably anywhere else, has the views of this one.

And on Thursday, September 27, from 7 to 9 p.m., the folks who bring us the Atlantic Antic will host the first salute to a figure prominent in Antic history. In this case, the longtime merchant Charlie Sahadi will be honored as the first Atlantic Avenue ambassador.

This fund-raising event, hosted by the Atlantic Avenue LDC, will be held at the Roulette, a new performing arts space in the YWCA at 509 Atlantic Ave.

And September is already half-way over.


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