ELMONT, N.Y. – A week-long festival of events to celebrate the 142nd running of the Grade 1, $1 million Belmont Stakes kicks off on Saturday, May 29 with a parade along Hempstead Turnpike, a family fun day and two-day equine exposition at Belmont Park.

The Elmont 2010 Belmont Stakes Festival Parade, beginning at 10 a.m., is the first of many community events that are part of the 2010 Belmont Stakes Festival, among them the Northeast Equine Exposition on May 29-30, the Queens Go Red for Women Luncheon at Russo’s on the Bay in Howard Beach on Thursday, June 3 to benefit the American Heart Association, and street fairs in Belmont Park’s neighboring communities of Floral Park and Garden City on the eve of the race.

The Belmont Stakes Festival surrounds the third jewel in Thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown, the 1 ½ mile Belmont Stakes, which will be held Saturday, June 5, at beautiful Belmont Park. The 1 ½-mile race, the oldest and longest leg of racing’s Triple Crown for 3-year-olds, draws fans and tourists from all over the country and the Belmont Stakes Festival provides a destination for tourists that benefits the New York City-Long Island area and as well providing entertainment for local communities.

Other community events include:

* Family Fun Day, sponsored by the Elmont Chamber of Commerce, at noon Saturday, May 29, at the Alva T. Stanforth Sports Complex in Elmont.
* Elmont Community Day on Sunday, May 30, at Belmont Park, featuring the Elmont Stakes, with admission sponsored by the Bethpage Federal Credit Union.
* The Garden City Chamber of Commerce Foundation Cocktail Reception at Walk Street in Garden City on Tuesday, June 1, from 6-8 p.m.
* The Belmont Bash to benefit the Grayson Jockey Club Research Foundation and the Backstretch Employee Services Team of New York, Inc. (B.E.S.T) at 7 p.m. at the Garden City Hotel.

On Friday evening, Tulip Avenue in Floral Park will be closed from 5-9 p.m. and will feature live music from three bands, traditional Irish dance performances, culinary samplings and tastings from Floral Park eateries and other family-friendly activities, all sponsored by The New York Racing Association, Inc. and the Floral Park Chamber of Commerce.

One hour later, festivities get underway in nearby Garden City, highlighted by a “Wing Off” in which local restaurants vie for the honor of being named Garden City Chicken Wing Champion. A People’s Choice ballot (which includes a plate of wings) costs $8, with proceeds to benefit the Mollie Biggane Melanoma Foundation. The U.S. Air Force rock band Afterburner headlines the entertainment, which also features local bands.

The Belmont Stakes itself is one of the great entertainment bargains in New York, general admission costing just $10 with children under 12 admitted free. For more information on the Belmont Stakes, please visit http://www.belmontstakes.com.