Summer at the Plaza

Summer at the Plaza

August 1: McDonald's Presents The Black Arts & Cultural Festival

12:00pm to 7:00pm


Formerly African American Family Day, join us in a celebration of the diverse history and culture of the people of the African Diaspora. One of New York’s greatest strengths is its diversity, and this event is a great opportunity to come to the Empire State Plaza and celebrate our state’s African American community through music, art, dance and activities. 

Headlining this year's event is Will Downing "The Prince of Sophisticated Soul" with special guests Season 4 Sunday Best winner Amber Bullock, contemporary jazz flutist Ragan Whiteside, and the multi-cultural ensemble One World Tribe.

Expanded Kids’ Zone and interactive activities including pony rides, face painting, arts and crafts, science experiments and bounce rides. 

Scratch Academy where kids can learn the techniques practiced by hip hop DJs.

Live demos including Austin's Barbershop battle, spoken word and poetry slam with Urban Guerilla Theater, Triple Threat All-Stars Cheerleading and Dance; and Trinity Alliance Hoops Challenge.

An Albany Center Gallery satellite exhibit with 18 artists showcasing their work on black arts and culture plus live paiting. 

New Destination Areas
Destination Heritage
Access information and find out about services available for learning about the black experience, past to the present. 
Destination FinanceInformation and financial assistance plus a chance to win a financial makeover from Sunmark. Sponsored by Sunmark Federal Credit Union 
Destination Education: Find information on everything education related, from college admissions and student life to financial aid. Sponsored by University at Albany  
Destination Empowerment
NYS Labor Department representatives will be onsite to provide information about their workforce initiatives plus a mini job fair. Sponsored by New York State Department of Labor 
Destination Health & WellnessZumba and Bokwa fitness demonstrations, healthy cooking demos, and information on available insurance coverage and health services. MVP’s new community outreach vehicle will also be at this destination. Sponsored by MVP Health Care 
Destination BeautyGet syling tips, see demonstrations, and watch hair stylist and barber battles. The barber battle starts at 3 p.m. and will feature competitions in traditional cut and style; free style design; and duplicate design, as well as a speed fade battle. Sponsored by Austin’s School of Spa Technology 

Activities, valuable information, and more!

Performance Schedule

12:00pm     Opening Ceremony
12:45pm     Plaza Lites Talent Competition Winners
1:30pm       Amber Bullock
3:00pm       Ragan Whiteside
4:30pm       One World Tribe
6:00pm       Will Downing

Austin's School Demonstrations
12:15pm    Battle of the Brushes
3:00pm      Barber Battle
Ongoing Demos All-Day

Healthy Demonstrations
1:15pm     Bowkwa Class
1:45pm     Atito Ghoi African Dance
2:15pm     Zumba Class
3:15pm     Yoga Class 

Teen Demonstrations
2:00pm    Urban Guerilla Theatre
3:30pm    Scratch Academy

Due to Plaza construction, events will be held at the North end of the Plaza. Seating will not be available. Please bring a lawn chair.