WXXI AM News

Crowds Gather At Puerto Rican Festival Parade To Celebrate Heritage

Aug 7, 2016

Credit Caitlin Whyte / WXXI News

Blue skies shined over the annual Puerto Rican Festival Parade on East Main Street Saturday morning.

Among those in the parade were Cassandra Lopez and Tia Rivera, the Ms. Puerto Rico of Rochester 2016 Queen and Princess.

16 year old Lopez said she enjoys the festival because it’s a showcase of her culture and gives people a chance to see what their community has to offer. Lopez said the title of Ms. Puerto Rico of Rochester 2016 Queen is quite an honor.

"It’s empowering, it’s good to be involved with the community and I’m happy that I get to be this role model."

17 year old Rivera was excited to be in a parade for the first time.

"We’re going to be in the float which is new to me, never been in a parade before so it’s very, very cool."

Johnnie Figueroa was at the parade with his sister, and said although this was the first year he attended the parade, he’s been to the Puerto Rican Festival all 27 years of his life for many reasons.

"Our pride and how much we love where we come from, we support our little island, you know from the island to Rochester."

Ricardo Matos said his favorite part of the festival was seeing the variety of people that attend each year.

"Just celebrating every year my heritage and seeing the different people that come out and enjoying the food and stuff like that. So it’s a good thing that the city of Rochester does for us, we do appreciate it."

The Puerto Rican Festival was created in 1969 to celebrate and recognize the culture of Puerto Ricans in the Rochester area. Puerto Ricans continue to be one of the largest growing Hispanic populations in New York State.