On Sunday, June 27, Baldwin’s first annual Culture Jam lured Baldwinites and their friends and family out of the Covid quarantine blues and into a sunny summer with a variety of entertainment, food, and drink in order to revitalize community and business alike.
Sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce and The Irish Pub, this all-day event held at the parking lot of The Irish Pub had vendors put up tables to promote their businesses, as the chamber centered the “Get Back to Business” theme.
The event began with a Car Show from 8 a.m. to noon hosted by the Baldwin Hot Rod Association. Paul Lizio, one of the heads of this association stated, “We felt that adding the cars to the event would be a good way to draw people outside and get together now that we are coming out of the pandemic.”
Lizio was also cognizant that Covid is not entirely over and respected that autonomy of some to engage in precautionary measures, adding to the inclusivity of this event. He said, “Car shows are a great way for people to get out where they can still socially distance if they would like to.”
From noon to 7 p.m. a live mural painting followed, which was curated by street artist and Baldwin High School graduate Poor Rupert. Artists showed off their chops with colorful renderings as the public watched and engaged with them, especially younger Baldwinites.
Poor Rupert said that his hope for this event is to create awareness around this type of artistry, “Street art and muralism brings more positive things to a community than any of the other negative things that people may have in their heads about graffiti-type art.”
Chamber co-president, Erik Mahler said that they wanted to do this event “to attract young people into Baldwin, to visit and shop in Restaurant Row and downtown Baldwin. It is vital to keep the young people interested in our wonderful community.”
With the recent Downtown Revitalization Initiative $10 million grant from the state, which would partially go to apartment development aimed at young professionals and families, the chamber has been vocal in its support for improvements that diversify Baldwin demographics and attract a younger base with disposable income.
Along with live music, Baldwinites also enjoyed a cornhole tournament and raffles for hundreds of dollars in gift cards to The Irish Pub and Charlie’s Butcher and a new smoker to kick off some summer outdoor grilling and drinking.
The owner of The Irish Pub Shawn Sabel said, “The whole reason why we are doing this is to show how diverse how this community is. We have Jamaican, Irish, and Mexican cooks, and Reggae and Rock Long Island bands.” He added, “I can’t wait to get back to normal life, and I wouldn’t want to do that without the people of this community.”
A portion of these donations will benefit Hangout One Happy Place, a Baldwin-based nonprofit organization that gives teenagers and young adults with special needs a space to socialize and safely engage in activities.
Founder and President of Hangout One Happy Place for Autism Angela Lucas said, “It’s an honor that the community would do this for us. The reason that we are so successful is because of the Baldwin community.”
Lucas also mentioned that the kids did not only attend the event, but also participated in it, “The kids have a day to enjoy and be part of the event, selling tickets and shirts. Baldwin embraces them.”