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Atlas Park’s World’s Fair celebrates boro’s diversity

Glendale's Shops at Atlas Park will focus on the borough's diversity this weekend when it kicks off its second annual World's Fair, where more than 20 cultures will be represented through food and performances, the mall's owner said.

The fair will run from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. on two consecutive weekends — July 26-27 and Aug. 2-3 — at the shopping center's Green and Ellipse parking areas. Atlas Park director Damon Hemmerdinger said this year's fair will be much larger than the inaugural event in 2007.

"We have nearly doubled the size of last year's fair, and with performers ranging from Hawaiian Express to the Hagen School of Irish Dance, this is sure to be a huge success," he said.

He said Atlas Park's festival is bringing the spirit of the World's Fair back to the borough. In 1939 and 1964, two massive fairs were held in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. The 1939 fair celebrated science and technology, while the 1964 fair put United States industry in the spotlight.

The fair will feature 25 different performers, dancers, musicians and vendors who represent 20 borough cultures. Performances will include Japanese martial arts, a Hawaiian ukulele band, Chinese sword and fan dances, belly dancing, traditional Georgian dance, Bollywood-inspired jazz, hip hop and classical music from Italy, Ireland and India.

Attendees will be able to try food from Atlas Park's Manor Oktoberfest, which will provide bratwurst, Bavarian pretzels and German beer as well as cuisine from a number of various cultures.

The fair will also have a number of booths that will showcase different cultures, sell cultural artifacts or provide information about their various organizations.

The lifestyle center is also currently running its Free Family Film Festival through the end of August at its Regal Cinemas chain theater.

The film festival will next screen "Clifford's Really Big Movie" and "Happy Feet" from Aug. 5-7, "Charlotte's Web" and "Hairspray" from Aug. 12-14, "Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit" and "The Water Horse" from Aug. 19-21 and "Curious George" and "Surf's Up" from Aug. 26-28. All shows are free to the public and begin at 10 a.m.

Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.

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