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Queensites enjoy autumn at Jamaica Harvest Festival

Sunny skies and a slight chill made for an appropriate setting this weekend as dozens of visitors headed to the Jamaica Farmer’s Market to celebrate the fall.

The outdoor area at 160th Street between Jamaica and 90th avenues played host to the harvest festival. Vendors celebrated the festival with various events, including pumpkin sales, a chili cook-off and a Wild West presentation from a group of cowboys.

“I come out usually to buy some vegetables at the farmer’s market,” said Jesus Flores of Glendale, who came with his three children and wife. “I just discovered this and I’m going go check it out with [the kids].”

The ninth-annual festival has been hosted by the Greater Jamaica Development Corp. to provide a positive outdoor venue for southeast Queens residents and shoppers who frequent the area. Dolores Wilkins, who has lived in the area for nearly 30 years, came to see the dancers from the Jamaica YMCA branch.

“It brings people together and it is good for the kids,” she said.

Evelyn Joseph, who arrived with her two children and sister, agreed. The mother said she always tries to find great activities with her family, but has to travel far to the best events.

“It’s so hard to find things like this in southeast Queens,” she said.

One of the biggest draws was a mini rodeo show held by the Federation of Black Cowboys. In addition to some lasso moves and showing off their horses, the buckaroos taught the audience about the presence of minority cowboys during the 19th century in the opening up of the West.

Anthony Giancatarino, 28, of Fresh Meadows, who came with his wife Katie, said he was impressed that the festival mixed history with fun.

“I didn’t expect there to be an educational element,” he said. “It’s really nice.”

Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4546.

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