Summer At The Plaza is a series of free community events that will be presented at the Empire State Plaza in Albany. Summer at the Plaza will include family-friendly concerts, movies and festivals starting June 3. New this year is the Plaza at 50 Festival, a day-long event that will feature a farmer’s market, food, music and fireworks
“Every year thousands of people come to our free Summer At the Plaza events with their families, neighbors, and friends to enjoy great entertainment, delicious food, and the region’s best fireworks show at New York State’s 4th of July Celebration presented by Price Chopper,” Commissioner Destito said. “What will make this year’s events even more meaningful is that we will also be commemorating the Empire State Plaza’s 50th anniversary with a festival featuring great food, live entertainment, and fireworks to honor all those who designed and built the Plaza and to celebrate the center of government and culture it has become.”
The Summer At The Plaza stage is being moved to the north end of the Plaza closest to the Capitol due to ongoing construction on the State Museum staircase. Because the staircase seating will not be available, people are encouraged to bring their own chairs.
Capital Concert Series presented by Saranac:
Wednesday, June 3, 5 – 9 p.m. Pop-Rock Night Featuring Orleans
Orleans is best known as the ’70s pop/rock band that brought you the iconic hits “Still the One,” “Dance With Me,” and “Love Takes Time.” Now entering its 41st year of live performances, Orleans has produced a body of work spanning 16 albums and several DVDs. With opening acts: Barrere &Tackett, and Jocelyn Arndt.
Wednesday, June 10, 5 – 9 p.m. EQX Night Featuring The Vaccines
Infectious London-based indie rock outfit the Vaccines formed in the late 2000s around the talents of Justin Young, Árni Hjörvar, Freddie Cowan, and Pete Robertson. The quartet, has drawn comparisons to everyone from Surfer Blood and the Drums to the Strokes, and the Jesus and Mary Chain. With opening acts: The Features, and Stellar Young.
Wednesday June 17, 5 – 9 p.m. Country Music Night Featuring Craig Wayne Boyd
The seventh season winner of NBC’s “The Voice,” Craig Wayne Boyd hit number one on the charts with his rendition of Johnny Cash’s “Walk the Line” and his single “My Baby’s Got a Smile on Her Face” debuted at number one on the Hot Country Songs chart. With opening act: Chris Dukes Band
Wednesday, June 24, 5 – 9 p.m. Reggae Night Featuring Maxi Priest
Reggae fusion artist Maxi Priest is one of those artists whose own unique vision has led him to tremendous international success. With the song “Close to You,” he became the first reggae artist to have a No. 1 hit worldwide – including the U.S. Billboard charts. His effortless blend of reggae, R&B, and dancehall has universal appeal. With opening acts: Morgan Heritage, and special guest Jemere Morgan.
Wednesday, July 8, 5 – 9 p.m. Jazz Night Featuring Kim Waters
Saxophonist Kim Waters is a staple on the urban-jazz landscape with a deep catalogue that boasts 14 number one singles, including “Waterfall,” “Secrets Told,” and “Midnight at the Oasis,” four number one albums, 16 Top Ten singles, and crossover sets that have logged time on the Billboard 200, urban, contemporary jazz, Heatseekers, and Top Independent Albums charts. With opening act: Alex Bugnon.
Saturday, July 4, 3 – 10 p.m.
Price Chopper Presents New York State’s 4th of July Celebration starring Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes
Price Chopper has presented this Albany tradition since our country’s bicentennial celebration in 1976. The annual event features live music and fun for the whole family including the best fireworks show in the region. Each year, more than 30,000 people gather to enjoy the day at the Plaza, which includes a naturalization ceremony, dozens of food and craft vendors, activities for kids, and an evening of live entertainment leading up to the big pyrotechnics show.
Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes emerged from the New Jersey shore scene in 1974, evolving as an R&B horn band in the Memphis’ Stax Records tradition. The band is known for high-energy shows and no-holds-barred songs, including “I Don’t Wanna Go Home,” “Havin’ a Party,” “The Fever,” “Talk to Me,” Trapped Again,” and “This Time It’s For Real.”
Saturday, July 11, Noon – 5 p.m.
GE’s Kids Day Sing Along Adventure with BarneyTM
GE’s Kids Day is this area’s “kid-centric” outdoor event. Nowhere else can children enjoy live music, theater, and dance, in addition to an array of favorites, such as face painting, bounce rides, puppet shows, arts and crafts, animals, and balloons all in one place. Get ready for a super-dee-duper time with Barney™ as he brings a celebration as big as your imagination. Don’t miss the opportunity to meet everyone’s favorite purple dinosaur in a special interactive sing-along. The loveable, huggable T-rex invites children to explore exciting places as he encourages sharing, caring, imagining, dancing, and learning along the way.
This year’s fun will also include meet and greets with your favorite Nick Jr. stars Peppa Pig and her brother George, Arm of the Sea Theater, bounce rides, the Two by Two Zoo, the Hannaford Ice Cream Challenge, and more.
Saturday, August 1, Noon – 7 p.m.
The Black Arts and Cultural Festival presented by McDonald’s starring Will Downing Presented by McDonald’s, the Black Arts and Cultural Festival, formerly African American Family Day, is an updated take on a classic celebration of the traditions and cultural contributions of the black community through music, art, dance, and more. In addition to an exciting lineup of talent on the main stage, the festival will feature five destination areas highlighting themes such as heritage, health &wellness, beauty, empowerment, and kids; a satellite art display of the Albany Center Gallery; and an expanded kids’ zone. Will Downing is known as “The Prince of Sophisticated Soul.” Over the course of a 27 year career he has become a living example of the absolute best that smooth R&B and soul has to offer.
Wednesday, August 12, 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.
New York State Food Festival presented by Allstate starring Cracker
With nearly 100 food vendors to choose from, 15,000 people annually flock to the Plaza Food Festival for lunch, dinner, or both. They come for the food and stay for a day of live musical entertainment. The Food Festival showcases New York producers and specialty products, New York State beers, and the popular Farmers Market. Cracker has been described as a lot of things over the years: alt-rock, Americana, insurgent-country, and have even had the terms punk and classic-rock thrown at them. But more than anything Cracker are survivors. Cofounders Lowery and Hickman have been at it for almost a quarter of a century making hit songs such as “Low,” “Euro-Trash Girl,” “Get Off This” and “Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out With Me.” With opening acts: Gedeon Luke and The People, and Soul Sky.
Saturday, September 12, 5 – 10 p.m.
Hispanic Heritage Celebration presented by SONYMA starring Alex Matos
Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with this this tribute to Latin culture. Rich in tradition, the Hispanic community comes together in the Empire State Plaza Convention Center for a colorful pageantry of live music, dance, food, and family friendly activities. Alex Matos is known as the Dominican who came to put the world in Salsa. A performer of Salsa and pop ballads, he won the Casandra Award of the Dominican Republic in 2014 as “Salsero of the Year.” With opening acts: George Lamond, MW, and DJ Boy.
Wednesday, September 16, noon – 8 p.m.
Plaza at 50 Festival starring Shadows of the 60’s – A Tribute to Motown Super Groups,
A day full of live entertainment, food, a farmers market featuring New York State products, and fireworks is in store for season’s last big Summer at the Plaza event. It is part of a series of events and exhibits being held to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the June 21, 1965 cornerstone laying at the Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller Empire State Plaza. Shadows of the Sixties pays tribute to the tremendous legacy of The Four Tops, Temptations, and Supremes. In this tribute production show, Shadows of the Sixties perform the hits that span several decades. Great care is taken to reproduce the music, note for note and in the original keys and arrangements.
The Plaza at 50 commemoration will also feature a special exhibit at the New York State Museum and a speaker series at The Egg. For more information visit The Empire State Plaza at 50 webpage or follow us on Twitter @ESPat50, EmpireStatePlaza50 on Facebook, and empirestateplaza50 on Instagram for event updates.
Capitol Park After Dark Movie Series
Outdoor movie nights return to Albany in August, featuring films suitable for the entire family in West Capitol Park. Food and beverage vendors will be on site, including Stewart’s ice cream.
· “Mary Poppins,” Wednesday August 5, 8 p.m.
The Travers children get the attention of their all-business father by bedevilling every new nanny in the Banks household. When Mr. Banks advertises conventionally for another nanny, the kids compose their own ad, asking for someone with a little kindness and imagination. Mary Poppins (Julie Andrews in her screen debut) answers the children’s ad by arriving at the Banks home from the skies, parachuting downward with her umbrella.
· “Monsters University,” Wednesday, August 19, 8 p.m.
Take a trip back in time to when star Monsters, Inc. employees Mike Wazowski (voice of Billy Crystal) and James P. “Sulley” Sullivan (voice of John Goodman) were just two promising young students at Monsters University in this frightfully fun Disney/Pixar prequel.
· “Maltese Falcon,” Wednesday, August 26, 8 p.m.
Humphrey Bogart achieved true stardom as Sam Spade, a hard-boiled San Francisco private eye who can be as unscrupulous as the next guy but also adheres to his own personal code of honor. Into the offices of the Spade & Archer detective agency sweeps a Miss Wonderly (Mary Astor), who offers a large retainer to Sam and his partner Miles Archer (Jerome Cowan) if they’ll protect her from someone named Floyd Thursby.
Made in the Shade of the Egg Summer Performance Series
Held in conjunction with the Empire State Plaza Farmers Market, the “Made in the Shade of The Egg” outdoor series is held at noon on Wednesdays between June 3 and August 26. Performers for June 3, June 10, and August 5 are to be announced.
· June 17: Bhi Bhiman: original folk-rock
· June 24: GX3+: flamenco, classical, and bluegrass
· July 1: The Wiyos: swing, folk, and old-time blues
· July 8: Jeremy Kittle Trio: classical crossover
· July 15: Bopitude: modern jazz
· July 22: Front Country: contemporary bluegrass
· July 29: Brass & Blues: acoustic blues & traditional jazz
· August 12: Ajkun Ballet Theatre: contemporary dance
· August 19: The Revelers: Cajun, zydeco, & swamp pop
· August 26: Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company: modern movement
All of the Summer At The Plaza events are FREE at the Empire State Plaza. During weeknight At the Plaza events, free parking in the East Garage begins at 5 p.m.
For event updates, follow @plazaevents on Twitter, Empire State Plaza Events on Facebook, or call (518) 474-0549. For additional information about Plaza events, including directions and ground rules, visit www.ogs.ny.gov.
Sponsors include Price Chopper, GE, Saranac, Hannaford Supermarkets, The McDonald’s Co-op of the Capital Region, Allstate, State of New York Mortgage Agency, New York State of Health, New York 529 College Savings Program, Times Union, and Albany.com.