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Astoria center presents Three Kings festival

The Three Kings who greeted Jesus after his birth will be on hand to pass gifts along to borough children at a re-enactment of their Biblical visit this weekend.

The Latin American Cultural Center of Queens is presenting its annual Three Kings Celebration on Saturday, Jan. 5, at 2 p.m. at the ARROW Community Center, at 35-30 35th St. in Astoria.

The event will offer a day-early observance of the Feast of the Epiphany, a Jan. 6 holiday which commemorates the arrival of the three kings to bestow presents on Jesus after his birth.

“It’s a typical celebration of millions of Hispanics, not only in this country but all over Latin America,” said Cielo Pelaez, the executive director of the Latin American Cultural Center.

The theater-style presentation will feature three actors dressed as the Wise Men, who will enact their journey to find Jesus and present him with gifts.

Their journey will be followed by food and a musical sing-along of Christmas carols.

The Wise Men will be played by art teacher Jairo Toro of Astoria, music instructor David Daniel of Elmhurst, and Fabian Pelaez of Whitestone — the 16-year-old son of Cielo Pelaez.

“The center aims to keep the joy of the tradition alive within the new generations,” Cielo Pelaez said. “We don’t want kids to forget this.”

After the performance, the Wise Men will then turn their attention to the children in the crowd, who will receive presents much the way Jesus does in the play.

Now in its ninth year, the event is designed to provide entertainment and cultural enrichment to a large Hispanic community that is largely underserved in the area, Pelaez said.

The performance will be presented in Spanish with English translations if necessary.

The Three Kings Celebration is only one of numerous events the Latin American Cultural Center sponsors at Arrow Park and across the borough.

Armed with a mission of provide enriching cultural events to the borough’s Hispanic community, the center also sponsors exhibitions, children’s art programs, English as a Second Language classes and a youth foundation.

For more information, call 261-7664.

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