Organizers of the Fresh Pond Road street festival in Ridgewood will present something new at this September’s fair: a poetry and art contest open to local schoolchildren.
The participants for this poetry and art contest, hosted by the Federazione Italo-Americana di Brooklyn and Queens, must be enrolled in a New York City public or private grammar, intermediate or high school. They are to present one original poem and one original artwork.
“This contest is going to add a new dimension to the festival and the people who visit Ridgewood,” said Michael Conigliaro, managing director-adviser of the festival for the Federazione Italo-Americana di Brooklyn and Queens.
The topic for the contest is “Growing up ______American in Queens,” (i.e. Growing up Italian-American in Queens), with an alternate topic of “What community means to you.”
Students from any country or ethnic background can submit a poem and piece of art about their experiences and their families’ experiences living in Queens.
“As a professional writer, poet and advocate for children, to be able to read and share the poems of these youngsters from Queens, will be a treasure to our great borough, and to bring together everyone, no matter what their background,” said Angelica Harris, president of the Excalibur Reading Program located in Glendale, and poetry contest leader.
Each participant is allowed to submit one poem and one piece of art. The contest will be divided into three categories, one for grammar school, one for intermediate school and one for high school. Poems are to be in English, five verses, up to five stanzas long, but no more than 50 verses on one sheet.
The art pieces must be a drawing or painting in oil, watercolor or any other creative medium and must not be larger than 2 feet by 2 feet.
The works of the participants will be on display during the four-day festival in a special community stand.
“We want to offer a free space to nonprofits in order to be able to allow them a chance to show what their organization offers, and to help our neighbors find resources that they may need for their families,” said Lucy Dolce, office director of the Federazione Italo-Americana di Brooklyn and Queens, and festival coordinator.
The contest will be judged by professional teachers, poets and artists. Three prizes will be given out, one for each category. Prizes will be handed out during a special ceremony to be held on Sept. 6, the final day of the four-day festival. Prizes adding up to $1,200 will be divided between the winners.
If students or parent have any questions or want submit their poetry and piece of art, they can send it to Harris’ email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for all submissions is Aug. 15.