Top Bronx Week events set for May 19-20 weekend

Bronx Week is back.

The annual celebration of Bronx culture has already kicked off and features the best of the borough.

Some of the largest and most significant events will come in the closing day and night of the 10-day festival.

Saturday May, 19 is the annual Bronx Ball, a star-studded and highly-anticipated black-tie event celebrating the accomplishments of the sons and daughters of the Bronx. This year three new Bronx Walk of Fame honorees, Maggie Siff, Slick Rick and Taran Burke will each re eive the royal treatment at the ball.

The celebration concludes on Sunday, May 20 starting with the Walk of Fame inductions. Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. will honor the three on the Grand Concourse by unveiling the street signs that will carry their names.

Then its the annual Bronx Week Parade. Bronx pride is on display as celebrities, marching bands, community organizations, schools, sports team and civic groups march along Mosholu Parkway, highlighting the best of the borough as this great community tradition celebrates its 47th anniversary.

Bronx community businesses, political leaders, schools and institutions join the procession as the Bronx Week comes to a close.

It’s then immediately followed by the Bronx Food & Arts Festival, which is an opportunity to shop for items produced by local artists and artisans, and to indulge in activities such as face painting and many other fun festivities.

The Bronx Week grand finale concert will close out the week.

The program is filled with popular Bronx musical groups; featuring hip hop, R&B, salsa, freestyle and much more.

The festivities have grown exponentally since its humble beginning in 1971.

Started by Lloyd Ultan, the Bronx historian, Bronx Week began as just one day.

“The Bronx was starting to deteriorate at the time. I wanted to celebrate the Bronx as a good place to live,” said Ultan.

So that’s what he did. Ultan approached Robert Abrams, the borough president at the time and pitched his idea for a day dedicated to celebrating the best of the Bronx.

The original one-day program featured four events: the parade, a fair at the Bronx Zoo, and two concerts.

Ultan took his inspiration from an event during the 1920s called Bronx Borough Day which had a similar premise.

When the day concluded in 1971, Abrams approached Ultan and exclaimed “next year let’s make it a full week.”

Just like that, Bronx week grew like wildfire. It wasn’t until the late 1980s when then Borough President Fernando Ferrer proposed the idea of the Bronx Ball, the most elegant of the Bronx Week events.

This year Ultan will be reviewing the parade as he has in every other year.

He believes that the parade in particular brings the borough together and especially appeals to the youth of the Bronx.

Ultan also finds great significance in the Bronx Walk of Fame induction as well. He finds it to be a great way to remind the public what an impact the Bronx has had on American and world wide culture.

“There’s three things you can do with history,” Ultan said. “You can write it, teach it or make it, and I think I made it with Bronx Week.”

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