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Fun, Family-Friendly Food Events this Summer

Memorial Day weekend has come and gone, signifying the beginning of summer fun in NYC. To my food-centered mind, that means, (drumroll)… Family-friendly food festivals! June is chock-full of these NYC gems (many of which are free). Here is a list of my favorites, followed by a fun summer snack recipe… After all, if you find yourself at a fun NYC event without noshes, who says you can’t amp up the excitement by bringing your own?

Egg Rolls, Egg Creams & Empanadas Festival (June 7th): The annual Egg Rolls and Egg Creams Festival provides a rare opportunity to celebrate the joint heritage of the Lower East Side and Chinatown with food. And this year, they’ve taken the celebration a step further by honoring the Puerto Rican community in the neighborhood. The day-long, free festival highlights the traditions of the neighborhood via Chinese opera and acrobats, klezmer performances, salsa and plena music, Puerto Rican mask making, Hebrew and Chinese scribal art, and, of course, the festival’s namesake: kosher egg rolls, egg creams and crispy empanadas.

Big Apple BBQ Block Party (June 13-14th): The Big Apple Barbecue Block Party is a celebration of the craftsmanship of ‘cue, represented by the most talented pitmasters in the country. Each one brings their signature approach to the tradition of ‘cue to New Yorkers the second weekend in June in Madison Square Park.

Irish Festival (June 13-14th): Staten Island Irish Fair has two stages of traditional Irish music and dance, festival food, an Irish marketplace, and kids’ area on Staten Island. Cost.

1920’s Lawn Party (June 13-14th): Wear a flapper costume and dance to the Dreamland Orchestra at Jazz Age Lawn Party, which includes a Charleston dance contest, dance lessons, follies, food, 1920s cars, and a kidland on Governor’s Island.

Lower EAT Side (June 14th): This warm weather festival combines the best in LES food, fashion, music, games and other activities to create Your Urban Backyard on the Lower East Side. DayLife takes over Orchard Street between East Houston and Delancey Streets, every summer, enlivening the streets with a full range of music, activities, live art demos, noshes, and a whole lot more.

Picnic Chickpea Chocolate Chip Cookies


*1 can chickpeas, drained & patted dry

*2 teaspoons vanilla extract

*1/2 cup sun/soy butter

*1 teaspoon baking powder

*1/4 cup grade A or B maple syrup, or agave nectar

*1 pinch salt

*1/2 cup cacao chocolate chips


1) Preheat oven to 350°F. Blend all ingredients, except chocolate chipes, until smooth and sticky.

2) Stir or pulse in chocolate chips until well-combined into the mixture.

3) Scoop rounded tablespoons of cookie dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies start to get toasty brown and the tops feel like there just beginning to get firm (but cookies will still be soft to touch). Allow to cool for 5 minutes and enjoy!

Do you have a question for Katie, or something you’d like to share with the River School community on the blog? Feel free to email her at!