2009 Mermaid Parade at Coney Island

2009 Mermaid Parade at Coney Island Credit: 2009 Mermaid Parade at Coney Island (Getty Images)

It's been anything but a brutal lead-up to summer, but we're still thrilled that the warmest season is on the horizon - and not just for the weather. With concerts, festivals, theater and outdoor films, we're banking on this being a busy - and awesome - summer.

Here are some ideas on how to fill the dog days.

JUNE

June 5
Shakespeare in the Park

The Public Theater presents "As You Like It" (through June 30) and the non-Shakespearean (but still excellent) Sondheim/Lapine musical "Into the Woods" (July 23-Aug. 25) starring Donna Murphy as The Witch. You know the drill: All performances take place at Central Park's Delacorte Theater and are free, but it's first-come, first-served; publictheater.org

June 9
Big Apple Block Party

Everyone's favorite annual eat-a-thon returns with barbecue grub fixed by some of the world's top pitmasters. Apart from the world-class 'cue, stop by for seminars, book signings and booze tastings. Madison Square Park; bigapplebbq.org

June 10
'Jews and Booze: Becoming American in the Age of Prohibition'

Author Marni Davis talks about her book, which explores the anti-Semitic undercurrents that existed within the temperance movement. Post-discussion tasting by Hudson Whiskey. Museum of Jewish Heritage, 36 Battery Pl., 2:20 p.m., $10, $5 members; mjhnyc.org

June 10
Tony Awards

Neil Patrick Harris returns to host Broadway's biggest night, the 66th annual Tony Awards. Not into hanging around the Beacon Theatre? Watch it on CBS at 8 p.m.

June 11
Foster the People at Central Park SummerStage

The "Pumped Up Kicks" rockers will be joined by Tokyo Police Club and Kimbra. 6 p.m., $40.75-$45; bowerypresents.com

June 12
Dave Matthews Band

Party like it's 1998 with these semi-still-relevant rockers. Nikon at Jones Beach Theater, 8 p.m., $75; ticketmaster.com

June 14
'Harvey' opening night

"The Big Bang Theory" star Jim Parsons heads to Broadway in this Roundabout revival, playing a lovable man with an unwavering friendship with an invisible 6-foot-tall white rabbit named Harvey. Studio 54; broadway.com

June 18
Bryant Park Summer Film Series

In celebration of the free festival's 20th anniversary, the lineup is a throwback to the hits screened in past summers. It kicks off with "Psycho" and ends on Aug. 20 with "Raiders Of The Lost Ark." For full schedule, visit bryantpark.org.

June 23
Coney Island Mermaid Parade

This annual over-the-top ocean-themed extravaganza returns with what's sure to be a cavalcade of sparkly, skimpy and seriously spectacular costumes. W. 21st Street and Surf Avenue, Coney Island, 2 p.m., FREE, coneyisland.com

June 24
NYC Pride March

More than a million revelers pack the streets in what's undoubtedly among city's most jubilant events. Plus, one of this year's grand marshals is Cyndi Lauper! Starts at 36th Street & 5th Avenue, ends at Christopher & Greenwich Streets. Noon, NYCPride.org

June 26
The Kravis Prize Concert: Yo-Yo Ma Plays Dutilleux

The inaugural honoree of the Marie-Josée Kravis Prize for New Music is French composer Henri Dutilleux, and the award includes a concert of his music performed by acclaimed cellist Yo-Yo Ma. Avery Fisher Hall, 7:30 p.m.; $35-$95; nyphil.org

JULY

July 4
Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest

Watch the pros wolf down hot dogs at this all-American competition. Corner of Stillwell and Surf avenues, Coney Island, 3 p.m.; nathansfamous.com

July 7
MoMA PS1's Warm Up Parties

MoMA's revered dance-music-art parties return to Long Island City for the 15th year and continue every Saturday through Sept. 8. Lineup TBA. $15, free for members and LIC residents; ps1.org

July 9
Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival

Busta Rhymes headlines this yearly tribute to all things hip-hop in the borough that helped define it. Expect concerts, panels and block parties. Through July 14. Prices and locations vary, visit bkhiphopfestival.com

July 15
Summer soccer

Watch our own Red Bulls go head-to-head with the Seattle Sounders in a Sunday clash at Red Bull Arena.4 p.m., $20-$70; newyorkredbulls.com

July 20
Hot Chelle Rae

The Nashville band - best known for their ubiquitous pop hit "Tonight Tonight" - will perform as part of the "Today" show Summer Concert Series. Rockefeller Center Plaza; today.com

July 27
2012 Summer Olympic Games begin in London

Get ready for the world's most elite athletes to descend on the U.K. to compete across a variety of sports. Through Aug. 12.

July 25
Lincoln Center Out of Doors Festival

This annual summer highlight - one of the country's longest-running, free, outdoor festivals, features more than 100 concerts and events across the plazas of Lincoln Center through Aug. 12; lcoutofdoors.org

July 26-29
Atlantic City Wine & Food Festival

The fourth annual festival, which will take place across all four Caesars casinos and resorts, will feature some of the culinary world's biggest names, including Tom Colicchio and Anne Burrell. Tickets at acfoodandwine.com or ticketmaster.com

AUGUST

Aug. 10
New York International Fringe Festival

For two weeks, nearly 200 shows will be part of this gigantic theater festival that runs through Aug. 26. While a handful of Fringe shows have gone on to commercial success, it's mainly an outlet for low-budget theater that can't get produced elsewhere. Various venues, $15 per show; fringenyc.com

Aug. 15
Dannijo x Matt Bernson

Jewelry brand Dannijo has teamed up with comfy-chic shoe designer Matt Bernson to launch a luxe five-piece shoe collection smack in the middle of August. Prices start at $238. Matt Bernson, 20 Harrison St., 212-941-7634

Aug. 19
Last chance to check out "Impossible Conversations"

The Met's Spring 2012 Costume Institute exhibition, "Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations," is slated to close Aug. 19. The exhibit explores the striking affinities between Elsa Schiaparelli and Miuccia Prada, two Italian designers from different eras. Metropolitan Museum of Art; metmuseum.org

Aug. 18-19
Jazz Age Lawn Party

Channel your inner Jay Gatsby and head to Governors Island for the second installment of this retro summer fete, where cocktails, dancing and sweet treats abound. Costumes, of course, are strongly suggested. 11-5 p.m.; dreamlandorchestra.com

Aug. 27
U.S. Open

The eyes of the tennis world will be on NYC for two weeks, as superstars like Rafael Nadal compete in the Grand Slam finale in Queens. Added bonus: Plenty of big-name celebs try to go incognito in the stands. USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center; usopen.org

Aug. 31
Jason Mraz and special guest Christina Perri

"Mr. A to Z" caps off the "Today" show Summer Concert Series, along with "Jar of Hearts" songstress Perri. Rockefeller Center Plaza; today.com 

Check in to these cool summer events with us on Foursquare.

Suffolk fire commissioner removed ... Cedar Beach sewage system ... Dino-mite Vintage Credit: Newsday

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Suffolk fire commissioner removed ... Cedar Beach sewage system ... Dino-mite Vintage Credit: Newsday

Trump's big day at RNC ... New pressure on Biden ... LI teacher loses certificate ... What's up on Long Island

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