Perhaps the biggest family event scheduled so far at the new Nassau Coliseum is on May 21 — that night will be the final performance of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus before it closes forever.
“It’s an honor, quite honestly,” says Nick Vaerewyck, senior director of programming for the Coliseum, of hosting “Out of This World” from May 12 through its farewell show. Vaerewyck expects that former circus performers, media and more will attend, giving Long Island a burst of attention. “We’re honored to be a part of them closing out a piece of history,” he says.
The Coliseum’s family lineup also includes several offerings during the opening month, beginning with a World Wrestling Entertainment show on April 10, continuing with the Harlem Globetrotters on April 14 and concluding with Monster Jam Triple Threat Series weekend April 21 to 23, Vaerewyck says.
“We’ve been working on a lot of different shows, not only for the first month but going on further into the first year,” Vaerewyck says. The venue is lining up professional bull riding and Disney on Ice shows for the fall, he says.
The Coliseum is also looking at ways to incorporate the outdoor grounds into programming. “We’re looking at a lot of different festivals, some things within the gaming realm,” Vaerewyck says.
The Long Island Nets, the Brooklyn Nets’ affiliate in the NBA’s Development League, who will be playing basketball home games at the Coliseum, also have a “pretty robust plan for kids and families,” says Alton Byrd, vice president of business operations for the Long Island Nets. At every game, kids will have the opportunity to meet players, play on inflatables, shoot basketballs, get their faces painted and more, Byrd says. There’ll also be a Kids’ Club for kids 12 and younger that will launch May 1; for a $25-a-year membership fee, kids will have access to more special activities, Byrd says.
The Nets will have its own Kids Dance Team of kids ages 6 to 13 that performs at home games, with auditions scheduled for June. Watch for details at Longislandnets.com And while the first game isn’t until October, the Nets also plan to host a free family fan festival in June at the Coliseum, Byrd says.