At the Puerto Rican Festival Boston 2018, the Bay State's Puerto Rican community will join together to celebrate unity in the wake of the widespread devastation caused by Hurricane Maria last fall and the government’s “shameful acts” in response, according to Edwin Alicea, the president of the festival.
“We both want to represent our culture… and [respond to] what happened after Maria with the shameful acts of the current government, under the new president, and the delay in [receiving] funds and supplies,” Alicea says.
To kick off the weekend’s festivities at the Puerto Rican Festival Boston 2018, a commencement ceremony was held with Mayor Marty Walsh and other elected officials at City Hall Plaza on Monday. Officials raised the Puerto Rican flag in homage to the victims of Hurricane Maria, the airmen killed in a recent plane crash in Georgia, Puerto Rican activist Rey Santiago Alicea of Jamaica Plain, as well as Andres Cruz, a store owner killed in an attempted robbery in Mission Hill.
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Alicea hopes attendees will also show up to the voting booth this fall with new priorities in mind, as the fest will assist people through a voter registration initiatives that will set up shop at the Puerto Rican Festival of Massachusetts.
“We’ve been Americans since 1917,” Alicea says. “Still to this day, it’s unbelievable [that] we still have to explain ourselves. We’re still Americans.”
When is the Puerto Rican Festival Boston 2018?
In past years, the festival garnered a turnout of more than 180,000 people. Join in the fun at New England’s largest Latino festival when it returns for its 51st edition this weekend.
The free, public outdoor fest takes place July 27 through 29, and will feature family fun, amusement park rides, cultural concessions and more. Musical artists from all over New England will be part of the fest. Beauty pageant participants will be there representing different cities in Puerto Rico.
The crown jewel of the festival is a parade that kicks off at Hynes Convention Center at 900 Boylston Street on Sunday at noon and is set to end at City Hall Plaza. Enjoy the parade from Boylston, Tremont and Cambridge Streets.
“We enjoy sharing our culture with Boston, and with the state of Massachusetts as well,” Alicea says.
Families can get health screenings and information on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle at the Latino Health Fair on Saturday, July 28, from 1-5 p.m. at City Hall Plaza. There will also be performances by well-known Latin music stars. Afro-Latina singer Amara la Negra of “Love & Hip-Hop: Miami” fame and Puerto-Rican-American rapper Lumidee will perform during Friday's music fest. On Saturday evening, see Puerto Rican singer Fabian Torres and salsa band Pirulo y La Tribu. Vity Ruiz, Patty Padilla, Willito Otero, Pete Perignon y la Generation del Presente will end the weekend with a show on Sunday.
If you go:
July 27-29, various times, free, puertoricanfestivalofma.org