Our roundup of fun and free/low-cost things to do with kids in Brooklyn this September includes the West Indian American Parade, Brooklyn Book Festival, Chili Pepper Fiesta, and a few fun family concerts.
Labor Day Weekend’s Best Bets
Labor Day doesn’t have to signify the end of summer and back to school and work, work, work. Doesn’t the season technically still continue for a few more weeks? The sun is still shining and the beaches are still open, so put on a smile and enjoy this national holiday that (not ironically) honors the workers. Here are some events happening in and near our fair borough:
Head to the Island
Sept. 1-2: Take the free ferry to Governors Island (departs from Pier 6 in Brooklyn Bridge Park) for the NYC Unicycle Festival, which features exhibitions, demonstrations, races, unicycle basketball and hockey, and world-famous riders who will be displaying their unique skills. And of course, all visitors have the opportunity to try their hand at riding a unicycle. FREE!
Sept. 3: On Monday, take advantage of free one-hour bike rentals courtesy of Bike and Roll’s Free Bike Monday. After you’ve pedaled to oblivion, enjoy the Rite of Summer Classical Music Festival as it presents violinist Todd Reynolds, who’s known for combining technology with classical and new music in a very new way. FREE!
Step Back in Time
Sept. 1-3: A Labor Day weekend tradition, the Richmond County Fair on Staten Island includes all the old-timey curiosities of a county fair somewhere in Iowa: pig races, bake-offs, pie contests, rides, ponies, classic cars, vendors, quilts, fudge…it’s all there!
Hit the Park
Sept. 3: If you’re near Prospect Park, stop by to see the West Indian American Parade and Carnival march by. There will be food, vendors selling items related to Caribbean culture, and floats with dancers wearing next to nothing. It is what it is, which is crowded but lots of fun. FREE!
Step to It
Help raise money for research toward ovarian cancer research at the fourth annual T.E.A.L. Walk in Prospect Park. The mission of Tell Every Amazing Lady (T.E.A.L.) is to promote awareness of the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer, to enable early detection, and to help find the cure for this deadly disease.
The great Audra Rox appears at Littlefield’s Hip Tot Music Festival, a monthly event that includes tons of art-making opportunities (courtesy of Private Picassos), a marketplace, and great music written and performed for the younger crew but enjoyed by all ages. This month, Rox brings her energetic kid-rock band, whose music is upbeat, horn-driven, and just plain combustible with its exuberance and enthusiasm. The group features many noteworthy musicians such as Jordan Shapiro, who leads the ever-popular newgrass outfit Astrograss, and Lily White, an award-winning saxophonist who’s toured with a “who’s who” of jazz musicians.
Brooklyn’s celebration of geeky literary tradition continues with the Brooklyn Book Festival. From graphic novel writers like Adrian Tomine and Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez, to stalwart legends like Pete Hamill, some of the borough’s (and world’s) most noteworthy writers appear for Q&As and readings. Children will hear authors such as Jon Sciezka and Judith Viorst, while adults have their pick between Joyce Carol Oates and Paul Auster. Literary-themed events include screenings, author appearances, and book signings. It’s seven days of pure adulation for geeks and readers of all ages. FREE!
Variety and chili peppers add spice to life, and you’ll find plenty of both at Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Chili Pepper Fiesta. Enjoy chili-infused foods and hear music from chili-growing regions, such as the great Chicha Libre who play the Peruvian psychedelic/surf style known as Chicha. Try some spicy chocolate and pickles, fiery beer (for the grownups!), and more.
Head to Carroll Park for a chance to see the Deedle Deedle Dees, who are funny in every way. The group members dress in three-piece suits with pocket watch chains, look like a bunch of robber barons, and revel in 19th-century gothic weirdness, yet find it in themselves to make a connection to kids and grown ups with songs that strive to teach about American history and its sordid personalities. The Deedles hide behind names like Ulysses S. Dee, Booker Dee, Moby Dee, and Otto Von Dee. Some of them look like Rutherford B. Hayes, others like Brooklyn slackers. Topics in their quirky songs include Negro League baseball, Sojourner Truth, an anecdote about Moby’s grandmother colliding with Mayor LaGuardia, and anything kinda old. It’s not surprising that the group’s website features resources for teachers and a list of recommended reading. FREE!
More Fun Events
For many more fun family activities in Brooklyn and the NYC area, head to our full, searchable calendar of events!
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