Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sunday Morning in Brighton Beach: The 34th Annual Brighton Jubilee at Brighton Beach and Coney Island Avenues

We wanted to go to the beach on a sunny Sunday this final weekend of August, and when we got off the Q train,

we realized we'd stumbled onto people setting up the 34th annual Brighton Jubilee, which to us looked basically like a collection of vendors

along Brighton Beach Avenue and Coney Island Avenue.

Okay, here's what the Brighton Neighborhood Association says:
The Jubilee is our only fundraiser and is a Brooklyn tradition that celebrates diversity. The multi-block festival features multiple entertainment stages and blocks of merchandise and informational booths, as well as kiddie rides and delicious food. Established 34 years ago, the Jubilee now attracts more than 125,000 people every year and is dedicated to bridging the communication gap through the international language of music.

We were there way too early for the music. Too bad. What it did seem early for was the smell of fried flesh: a little overwhelming before 9 a.m., the official start of the Jubilee. But then we're vegetarian.

Our family - two brothers and our mom, our dad enlisted on weekends sometimes - were vendors at The South's Largest Flea Market, Preston Henn's Swap Shop, on Sunrise Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale, through most of the 1980s. Our memories of it are hazy but not pleasant.

We lived nearby and taught at Broward Community College and we hated when someone was sick on the weekend and we were called to substitute, so we now have an aversion to events with outdoor vendors. Our brothers and mom, though, were good at it and sold really nice shirts, too, from a Korean manufacturer in Queens.

The life of a vendor can be lonely.

We don't mean to take anything away from the Brighton Jubilee. And we saw real bargains here, actually, especially on fairly decent clothing.

And how can you go wrong with ceramic vegetables?

Or all these makeup things for people who wear makeup?

This was like an infomercial come to life.

This girl was really eyeing those dolls.

This vendor didn't even bother with a table and just sat on her merchandise. She made two sales while we were standing there, too.

And of course there were the madcap Lawrence Welk-like bubbles in the air.

But still, we were grateful to get onto the beautiful beach for the rest of the morning.

Is it our imagination or did the boardwalk get lower or the sand higher?

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