Vendors Gearing Up for Jackson Heights Food Festival

If you are planning to go to Jackson Heights this weekend, you might want to do so on an empty stomach.  NY1's Tamani Wooley filed this preview of the neighborhood's annual food festival.

Various Latino dishes are bringing people together in Jackson Heights this weekend for the 4th annual Viva La Comida festival.

"What started Viva La Comida was the idea of bringing together food vendors and brick and mortar restaurants in the community. The idea was that they all have diverse food and the community appreciates what the food vendors bring on the street and there's a tradition of restaurant food as well as the street food we have,"  said Executive Director of the 82nd Street Partnership Leslie Ramos.

The event is being organized by the Partnership. Food vendors will stretch along 2 blocks of 82nd street from 37th to Baxter Ave. Local restaurants and businesses are participating too.

"Participating in Viva La Comida increase our sales slightly. We see more traffic coming into our business as well," said festival participant Eva Cabrera.

"I was thinking of doing like a Jeopardy sort of thing so the kids could come in and do something and then like get a candy" added participant Jonathan Rodriguez.

Organizers say more than 2-thousand people attended last year's event and they're hoping that number will grow this year. Attendees can choose from a wide range of dishes including Peruvian-Chinese, Mexican and Columbian-Ecuadorian cuisine.

"We are very grateful that this festival is being put together so people, Latinos get to know about other Latinos food such as Ecuadorian and Colombian, " said Festival Participant Maria Guartacaca.

And organizers say the festival is about more than just good food; they say it's also about great music.

"Our special musical guest this year is going to be Gilberto "Pulpo" Colon Jr. He is a distinguishable salsa pianist," said Ramos.

To get your fill of Latino culture you can head to the festival on Saturday from noon to 7 pm.

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