The Atlantic City Free Public Library began its International Night concert series in 2008 as a way to educate city residents and visitors through music. In the years since, it has become one of the library's most popular summer offerings.
Don Latham, public information director for the library, said it's the uniqueness of the series, which includes performances of traditional dance and music from Africa, the Caribbean, China and more, that has made it a must-see event.
"I don't know of any other series quite like this in the area," Latham said. "We've built kind of a tradition here."
The International Night concerts are held at Kennedy Plaza, on the Boardwalk between Mississippi and Georgia avenues, at 7 p.m. Wednesdays through Aug. 28. The series is made possible through a collaboration with the city of Atlantic City.
Hundreds turned out on July 10 to see Hawaiian Luau Entertainment perform music and dance indigenous to the Pacific islands, including hula and fire dances.
Atlantic City resident Ronald Bleecker and his wife, Yvonne, arrived early to grab a good seat. The couple has been a fixture at the concerts since they began six years ago, saying it's always a good time.
"It's very enjoyable, the music tends to make you relax," Ronald said. "We met someone new sitting next to us who we didn't know yesterday."
While regulars make up much of a crowd, the nature of the performance tends to entice passers-by to stop and watch the show, and crowds tend to grow as the evening wears on.
Latham said the series offers visitors a good showcase of what Atlantic City has to offer.
"We think it's a nice surprise for them," Latham said. "It's something, when they go back home, they'll tell their friends about."
On July 17, the group Feraba will perform a high-energy West African vocal and dance set, which will include African rhythm tap, a fusion of American tap dance and West African dance styles.
Alex Kaganzev, a frequent attendee who watched the July 10 show, said he'll be there on the 17th, and as much as he can the rest of the year.
"There's nothing better than having entertainment under the stars," Kaganzev said. "A lot of guys go to shows inside, but this is outside, in the fresh air. You feel the breeze blowing - you can't beat it."
Contact Braden Campbell:
If you go
The Atlantic City Free Public Library's International Night Concerts
7 p.m. Wednesdays through Aug. 28
Kennedy Plaza, on the Boardwalk between Mississippi and Georgia avenues
Call 609-345-2269, ext. 3112. For a complete schedule, see acfpl.org.