City of Albany Sponsors Socially Distant Street Fairs All Summer

August 7, 2020 by Sara Wilkerson

ALBANY, N.Y. – The city of Albany has initiated a traveling street fair for residents to socialize at a distance and to learn about local resources. The street fair, called Playstreets, was started last month and its next fair will take place on August 14. 

Among the activities at the Playstreets events are free food, music and socially distant-friendly games. 

Representatives from local community resources are stationed as vendors around the fair. Community organizations such as the Boys and Girls Clubs, the Albany Symphony, local radio and gym organizations are represented at the Playstreets fair. 

The Red Bookshelf, an Albany-based non-profit community organization aimed at promoting literacy, has given out free books for children at previous Playstreets fairs. 

Masks and social distancing are required of all those who wish to partake in the Playstreets events. To aid in the social distancing efforts for the fair, local streets surrounding the location of the fairs are closed to traffic. 

Before entering the Playstreets fair, residents are required to fill out COVID-19 questionnaire forms in case of a virus outbreak. 

Playstreets events are limited to local residents of the neighborhood where the fair is taking place. 

Speaking on the significance of the Playstreets initiative, Jonathan Jones, North Albany’s Department of Recreation commissioner, said, “The point is to bring partners here to engage with neighbors, to see not only the resources that are available, but to see ways to keep them active.” 

“All these different departments, the police department, the fire department, [are here at Playstreets] so that people know what resources are available, and then how to protect themselves — just because we’ve been so isolated for so long,” continued Jones. 

The Playstreets initiative comes as the city of Albany is dealing with a surge of violence in its streets. 

The Playstreets fair has previously taken place in neighborhoods such as North Albany, Arbor Hill and Pine Hills. 

Above all, the Playstreets is intended to provide a safe outlet for residents to engage with one another and their community at large, with special emphasis on the younger residents of Albany. 

“Because our kids haven’t been in school, it was even more important than ever for us to go throughout the City, and really engage our youth, show them that we care, and give them the opportunity to have some fun,” said Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan. 

Playstreets events take place every Friday in different neighborhoods throughout Albany from 11am to 3pm. 

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