Egg Rolls and Egg Creams Festival ’11
I have heard many times that smell is the best sense at triggering memories. Sunday’s 11th annual Egg Rolls and Egg Creams Festival was filled with all types of sensory reminders of times and places that are uniquely brought together and represented on the Lower East Side, specifically on Eldridge Street. The clic-clac of the mahjong tiles being tossed, the tickle of the fresh froth of an egg cream, and the deliciously greasy smell of egg rolls wafting through the street definitely brought memories back for some visitors and hopefully formed new ones for others! I just started my internship here at the Museum two weeks ago and this was my first Egg Rolls and Egg Creams Festival. The day was a great welcome to the Eldridge Street community.
The festival was hugely successful at facilitating cultural exchange and a good time. We had the biggest turnout in the history of the festival: more than 9000 people joined us for a marvelous afternoon of activities, story telling, and performances. Please check out our Facebook page for photographs of all the fun!
The Frank London’s All Star Brass Klezmer Band started the festival off with an energetic and joyous march around the block before the crowds had filled the street. From the first emotive blast of the trumpet, I was filled with an odd sense of nostalgia for a time I never experienced. Something about the location of the synagogue took me to a different time, along with the entertainment, food, and activities that were provided at the festival. Many other people were compelled to share stories of egg creams past, most likely prompted by the classic taste of Fox’s U-bet chocolate syrup, key component of the classic Lower East Side beverage. Several visitors even discovered new information about their ancestry with the aid of a genealogy specialist.
The traditional tea ceremony was held with the backdrop of the new rose window from the balcony of the sanctuary, which was certainly not the lone intriguing cultural juxtaposition of the festival. The Chinese paper fan making was a cool favorite, providing relief from the humid afternoon. Edible treats abounded as well, with challah making inside the synagogue and dumpling/kreplach demonstrations on the street.
We loved reading people’s tweets about the festival as well! Please continue to post your photos and stories from the day on Twitter, Flickr, and Facebook.