Berest Dance Center performance, 2023 (Photo from HEARTS PW)

HEARTS In The Park: A PortFest Event

Improving and continuing traditions on Saturday, May 18

On Saturday, May 18th, HEARTS PW (Helping Enrich the Arts of Port Washington) is hosting its annual spring arts festival, with a few updates to the original festival that has become a beloved tradition in the Port community.

This year’s festival is called HEARTS in the Park: A PortFest Event. HEARTS PW is an independent, not-for-profit community organization whose mission is to add value to children’s lives and the community by supporting, promoting and enriching the arts in Port Washington. After over 10 years of PortFest events, the HEARTS board decided to refresh their spring arts festival to include even more fun for the whole family.

“As an organization, we felt that while continuing these wonderful traditions, if we were going to make a little bit of a change, we wanted to give this event its own identity and its own space,” said Eric Gewirtz, board president of HEARTS PW.

This year, HEARTS in the Park: A PortFest Event will be held in Sunset Park at the Sousa Bandshell from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. As always, the festival is free for the community and offers local entertainment, food, art, and opportunities to learn more about community organizations.

“It’s still PortFest in its original design. We’ve always considered this an arts and community festival. The priority is to really showcase the creative spirit of our community and give a platform for the arts, both performance, visual and any other kinds of arts,” said Gewirtz. “There are the community elements of it, too, and there are local businesses and non-profits that sponsor us and set up booths at the festival to tell the community what they do.”

Performances at HEARTS in the Park: A PortFest Event include Port Washington School ensembles (music and dance), Port Summer Show, Bach 2 Rock, Dance Arts Centre and Berest Dance Center. Berest will also lead a special “We Are the World” inspired dance for everyone to participate.

With the new festival location being Sunset Park, some performances will be held at the Sousa Bandshell.

“We’ve always had two stages that we’ve been able to organize for PortFest. To continue that spirit but do it in its own way in the space, music performances will be at the Sousa Bandshell, and dance performances will be on the basketball court adjacent to it,” said Gewirtz.

The local band Hat Trixx is new to the performance roster this year. Hat Trixx will perform for the last hour of the festival, from 4 to 5 p.m., at the Sousa Bandshell.

In addition to showcasing the arts in the community, HEARTS has invited some local businesses and non-profits to set up booths at the festival.

“As part of the community spirit, [the booths] will also have participatory elements,” said Gewirtz. “One thing I’m excited about is we’ve arranged something with Plant A Row For the Hungry. There are high school students who have stenciled out a design on a large planter, and people can come and paint it. Then that will be put into the community after the event.”

Gewirtz is excited to share two new additions to HEARTS in the Park: A PortFest Event, which is Artisan Village, and a silent disco.

“For Artisan Village, we have three different artist vendors who are going to be selling their creative wares of different kinds. That is separate from the nonprofits and the other businesses that are there. This will be a place for community artists to be able to be supported,” said Gewirtz.

“The silent disco will be great for families, kids and anyone who wants to participate,” said Gewirtz. “You get to rent headphones at a small cost, and there are multiple channels with different music playing. You can dance like no one is watching, and even if they are watching, you still get to dance. So we will have a designated area for people to be able to dance their hearts out.”

Different from HEARTS’ previous spring festivals, instead of food trucks, there will be local food vendors setting up stations for people to come to browse and pick out some delicious meals, snacks and refreshments.

In addition to supporting the arts and the community, HEARTS hosts the festival to fundraise for their grant program. Donations are not mandatory but are always appreciated. They can be made at the event or online at

“Donations help support our organization and further our mission to be able to enrich the arts through different arts experiences in the future,” said Gewirtz. “We’re a grant-making nonprofit. The proceeds from this all go towards the grants that we give out in the next cycle.”

The grants are given out each cycle by HEARTS to support school and community arts programs. This year’s fundraising will go toward the 2024-25 cycle, which will be announced in early Fall.

“We’ve always aimed to make this free with just these few optional things. Donations are encouraged, but they’re definitely not required. Right. Mostly, we want the community to be able to gather like they’ve always done to celebrate the arts and be together,” said Gewirtz. “We’re excited about refreshing this a little bit but also building on the traditions and continuing to make this something of value and something of significance for everyone in the Port Washington community.”

HEARTS PW thanks the Gersh Family Foundation, Gold Coast Chiropractic and Long Island Dermatology for their generous sponsorship of HEARTS in the Park: A PortFest Event.

Visit Sunset Park on Saturday, May 18 from 12 to 5 p.m. to take part in HEARTS’ spring arts festival.

To learn more about the schedule of events and offerings at HEARTS in the Park: A PortFest Event, visit

Just Getting Started

Kevin James Thornton’s super second act

By Amanda Olsen • May 10, 2024


Dining guide-spring
  • No events