Click the BIG ARROW for The Moshav Band
While there's no conflict with Mother's Day this year, organizers of the April 29 Israel Independence Day Festival at Woodley Park are facing another challenge.
The celebration of Israel's 59th year falls on the same day as Big Sunday, a citywide Mitzvah Day, as well as the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books at UCLA.
Last year's Yom HaAtzmaut fest drew about 40,000 people, but Yoram Gutman, the festival's executive director, is cautious about making a turnout prediction.
"It's difficult to know, but still many people look to this as one of the most important holidays in the Jewish calendar," Gutman said. "Most of the Israeli and Jewish community ... I think that they know this is a really important occasion and that this is a priority for them."
While much of the event will be the same as in years past, some new faces and voices on stage will be joined by a festival first -- an Israeli fashion show produced by Dvora Braunstein.
"She has produced shows during Fashion Week L.A., and she basically comes out here and distributes all of the Israeli designers to the boutiques in L.A.," said Guy Kohlani, the festival's entertainment director.
The all-female catwalk will feature professional models donning Israeli fashions from upcoming fall 2007 and winter 2008 lines. Clothing will be available for purchase in a specially designated booth in front of the Haifa stage.
Other changes this year include an expanded Tel Aviv stage with four different food vendors set up nearby -- in addition to the regular food area -- and the carnival rides will be relocated to the southern end of the festival.
Also, be sure to stop by The Jewish Journal's booth to meet our staff as you walk through the festival's marketplace.
Free parking is available along Woodley Avenue as well as in lots across from the park and near Lake Balboa (look for signs). But organizers are encouraging attendees to ride the MTA's Orange Line bus service to the Woodley Station, located near the festival entrance.
Gutman says his group has already selected May 18 for the 2008 celebration of Israel's 60th anniversary. He hopes other groups will schedule around the date.
But despite Big Sunday falling on the same weekend as the festival once again this year -- creating difficult choices within the Jewish community -- Gutman is happy to say that the cloud has a silver lining.
"Because of Big Sunday, we're getting volunteers," he said. "So that's a good thing."
The Israel Independence Day Festival, Woodley Park, 6350 Woodley Ave., Van Nuys. Sunday, April 29, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. $5 per person; children under 2 free. For more information, call (818) 757-0123.
Noon: Boys and girls from the song and dance troupe Tzeirei Tel Aviv perform choreographed Israeli pop.
12:15 p.m.: Takila Production offers an Israeli take on the Blue Man Group.
12:30 p.m.: World-renowned violinist Lior Kaminetsky performs. Kaminetsky trained at Hebrew University and is currently studying at USC.
1:15 p.m.: Broadway and Israeli star Mike Burstyn hosts the official Israel Independence Day ceremony. In addition to civic leaders taking to the stage, expect the Golden Stars, the L.A. Sheriff's skydiving team, to drop in on the action.
2:15 p.m.: David Dassa presents Israeli folk dancing.
2:25 p.m.: Claude Afota sings traditional favorites in French, Hebrew, Moroccan and other languages with a tarbooka (handheld drums).
2:50 p.m.: L.A.-based singer Liz Shachar performs upbeat Israeli songs.
3:20 p.m.: Moshav Band blends folk, reggae and rock with Eastern flavors in songs about life in Israel and the Diaspora.
4 p.m.: Israeli singer Limor Ben-Nun shares the stage with the Sunflower Dancers.
4:30 p.m.: Popular L.A. singer Pini Cohen performs at the festival for the first time in several years.
5:15 p.m.: Featured artist Yehoram Gaon has been an Israeli star of stage and screen for more than 30 years. Best known for Naomi Shemer's "Od Lo Ahavti Dai," Gaon will perform his traditional folk and pop songs.
TEL AVIV STAGE
11:30 a.m.: Reb Jason plays songs from his album "Shabbat Rocks."
Noon: One of the newest Israeli singers in Los Angeles, Yosi Tzadok performs songs from such artists as Eyal Golan and Zoar Argov.
12:30 p.m.: Magic by Eran.
12:45 p.m.: Tzeri Tel Aviv
1:15 p.m.: David Dassa
1:30 p.m.: Claude Afota
2 p.m.: Lior Kaminetsky
2:30 p.m.: Takila Production
3 p.m.: Eran
3:10 p.m.: Sabras frontman Yosi Levy performs.
3:30 p.m.: Jimmy Gamliel sings Israeli favorites.
4 p.m.: Tzeri Tel Aviv
4:30 p.m.: Liz Shachar
5 p.m.: Local hip-hop act dJOoKRoO (pronounced Jew Crew) performs.
5:30 p.m.: VoKCaL (Voice of Knowledge) captures Israeli life with a hip-hop style that feature no violence, sex or drugs.
Noon: DJ Or
12:30 p.m.: Yosi Tzadok
1 p.m.: DJ Absera
1:30 p.m.: Eli and Elisah
2 p.m.: Fashion show
3 p.m.: dJOoKRoO
3:30 p.m.: VoKCaL
4 p.m.: Fashion show
5 p.m.: DJ Moshiko and Titus
6 p.m.: DJ Eliran and Tal
(DJ Avisera emcees)
1 p.m.: Magic Show by Fun & Discovery
2:30 p.m.: Gymnastics by Juliana
3:30 p.m.: Martial arts school
Noon: Face painting
1 p.m.: Balloons
2 p.m.: Gymnastic by Juliana