Proud Albanian-Americans gather for Skenderbeu Fair in Bronx’s Little Italy
Hundreds of proud Albanian-Americans came out on Sunday for the second annual Skenderbeu Fair in Bronx’s Little Italy.
The Albanian American Open Hand Association hosted the event. The fair featured traditional dances, dishes and clothing from Albania.
During last year’s event, Crescent Avenue was co-named to honor 15th century commander Gjergj Kastrioti Skenderbeu, who freed Albania from the Ottoman Empire.
This celebration is held in his honor each year on his birthday.
"We all accept him as a national hero. He is the only Albanian that gathered all Albanians together under one umbrella to fight against the Ottoman Empire," said Frank Kuka, who moved to New York from Albania 36 years ago.
The Bronx has the largest Albanian population in the United States, with more than 100,000 Albanians calling New York home.
Little Italy is a destination for Albanian businesses in the Bronx. The two countries shared a partnership as Albanians fled to seek refuge in Italy during the 15th century.
“We're honored to be in a country that allows us to hold on to our language and culture as we become productive members of society," said Mark Gjonaj, a former member of the City Council.
The festival aims to celebrate the history, culture and traditions of Albania.