BY BENJAMIN FANG
Hundreds of Sunnyside residents celebrated the start of the holiday season at Sunnyside Shines’s annual holiday lighting ceremony.
Families drank hot chocolate, ate cake and enjoyed musical and dance performances from local groups like the Thalia Spanish Theatre and the Sunnyside Youth Drum Corps.
Jaime-Faye Bean, executive director of the Sunnyside Shines BID, said the annual tradition is a festive occasion that brings people together.
“This is a neighborhood where people feel a lot of pride,” she said. “There is a lot of neighborhood cohesion, so having events like this just helps enhance that. It’s a way for us to invigorate the economic life of the neighborhood and encourage people to get out and celebrate, eat, drink and shop in the neighborhood.”
Sunnyside Shines has expanded its holiday programming over the last few years, Bean said. Last year, they started a free holiday shopping trolley that takes shoppers throughout the business district.
Every Saturday and Sunday, from November 24 to December 16, from noon to 6 p.m., there will be a pop-up market at Bliss Plaza. Bean said there will be between 30 and 35 Queens-based vendors everyday selling handmade and artisan items.
“There is stuff there you can buy as gifts or treats for yourself,” she said.
Finally, Sunnyside Shines is continuing its holiday coupon book, which offers shoppers and consumers discounts and deals at various local businesses. This year, there are 52 participating businesses to choose from, Bean said.
“This holiday season, we really believe that people who are passionate about the neighborhood and want to support the neighborhood, they can do it all right here,” she said of local residents. “They can shop, they can celebrate, go out to dinner. Everything can be done right here.”