Barbecue, al fresco movies, jazz and gospel festivals and more are just the beginning of the wide array of events happening across the country this month. Summer is just around the corner, but why wait? Grab your sense of adventure and get going!


Through July

UniverSoul Circus (numerous cities)

Arguably the most soulful circus on the planet, the UniverSoul Circus presents an entertaining family friendly show produced, directed and managed by primarily people of color. Its entertainers are world-class acts from around the globe, including clowns, aerialists, Caribbean and hip-hop dancers, magicians, contortionists, wild animal tamers, daredevils and a great deal more.

April 27-May 15

Queens, N.Y.

May 4-8

Columbus, Ohio

May 10-15

Cincinnati, Ohio

May 17-30

Cleveland, Ohio

May 18-30

Newark, N.J.

June 1-5

Buffalo, N.Y.

June 1-12

Baltimore, Md.

June 30-July 24

Washington, D.C.

More cities will be added as the year moves along.

Through September

Hudson River Park Summer of Fun (New York, N.Y.)

From movies to music, dance, food festivals, family events and excursions, fitness, walking tours, fishing, river cruises, environmental learning experiences and more, both New York residents and visitors alike are invited to enjoy the summer along the Hudson River. Featuring 550 acres of parkland and marine sanctuary, the park situated between 59th Street and Chambers Street on Manhattan’s Lower West Side, is a unique city gem and the place to find a sparkling lineup of free and low-cost cultural, recreational and educational events and programs. Festivities kic off May 21 with the second annual Hudson River Park Games, and last from June through September. Listed below are some of the popular annual events.

The Hudson River Dance Festival with Stephen Petronio Company, Lar Lubovitch Dance Company and Urban Bush Women

The 17th Annual Hudson River Park Blues BBQ Festival with Gaye and the Wild Rutz, Cash Box Kings, Bernard Allison Group, Sugaray Rayford Band and The Dirty Dozen Brass Band

Sunset on the Hudson Friday nights with Shanti Star & the Afro-Reggae All-Stars, Chuck Braman Jazz Band and Max Gallico & Friends

Hudson RiverFlicks Big Hit Wednesdays:

7/6 – Mad Max: Fury Road, R

7/13 – Jurassic World, PG-13

7/20 – Trainwreck, R

7/27 – The Big Short, R

8/3 – Creed, PG-13

8/10 – The Hunger Games:

Mockingjay Part 2, PG-13

8/17 – The Martian, PG-13

Hudson RiverFlicks Family Fridays:

7/8 – Minions, PG

7/15 – The Peanuts Movie, G

7/22 – Shaun the Sheep, PG

7/29 – Kung Fu Panda 3, PG

8/5 – Penguins of

Madagascar, PG

8/12 – Goosebumps, PG

8/19 – The Princess

Bride, PG

For a complete listing of all the summer activities and events, check out the website at There you can also find a Hudson River Park Summer of Fun Mobile Events App.


May 12-14

Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue (Memphis, Tenn.)

Each year, visitors from all 50 states and several foreign countries flock to Memphis for the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest. In addition to a serious yet spirited barbecue cooking competition, the event includes a wealth of barbecue and other culinary vendors, a Big Hog Run, live entertainment and the Ms. Piggie Idol—quite a sight with grown men dressed in tutus and snouts strutting about while “singing familiar songs with barbecue-infused lyrics involving pork, grilling and more.”


May 19-22

Harlem EatUp! Festival (Harlem, N.Y.)

The Harlem EatUp! Festival is having its second anniversary this May, celebrating “the food, culture and spirit of Harlem while paying homage to its roots and cultural fabric.” Dine In Harlem dinners, which pair select local Harlem chefs and restaurants with national chefs who have personal ties to the community, live culinary events on the EatUp! main stage, a Kids’ Zone offering interactive activities for all ages and Saturday and Sunday Stroll Grand Tastings are part of the celebration.


May 21-29

Barbados Gospelfest (Barbados, W.I.)

For almost 25 years the Barbados Gospelfest has featured some of the best local, regional and international gospel artists whose incredible talents combined to celebrate the inspired music and cultures of Barbados, the Caribbean and the international community. The annual theme is “Touching Lives Changing Nations,” with activities such as a thanksgiving service, a cricket match, laughter and jazz, gospel music and a sunset concert. Entertainers this year include Anthony Brown & Group TherAPy, Neicy Tribbett, Chinnitta Morris, Akintunde, Gozzy and Sinach, just to name a few.

May 27-29

36th Annual Atlanta Jazz Festival (Atlanta.)

Regarded as one of the finest, largest, free jazz festivals in the country, the Atlanta Jazz Festival, which grew from a weekend-long festival into a month-long celebration, is an Atlanta area favorite. The festival is the crowning event of a month of jazz celebration. Each year, the festival features numerous local, regional and international jazz artists. This year’s lineup includes Benny Golson, Eliane Elias, Joe Alterman, King Ace Beats, Mabu’s Ark Band, Alex Lattimore, Chargaux, Band Room Nation, Anonymous DaBand, Chandra Currelley, Assaf Kehati, Eugenie Jones, Daby Touré and Camila Meza, just to name a few.


Lysa Allman-Baldwin is a freelance writer and the publisher and editor of Amazing Escapades: Adventures for the mind, bod and belly (