(Photos by Gary Quintal)
By Dan Gesslein
BRONX, NEW YORK, May 28- Get ready for the biggest party in the Bronx when the Puerto Rican Day Parade kicks off on Sunday. Organizers are thrilled to be celebrating the parade’s 25th Anniversary with a march on the Grand Concourse once again.
This year some 120 groups from throughout the country and South America will march up the Grand Concourse in a celebration of the Bronx’s rich Puerto Rican heritage. The parade kicks off at 1 p.m. on Sunday, June 3rd. Before the parade at 11 a.m. there will be a special ceremony for this year’s honorees. The route has been change to march up the Concourse toward Mosholu Parkway instead of marching down to Yankee Stadium.
The move was in response to the massive amount of traffic that needs to be diverted to accommodate the parade which ends near the Bronx County Courthouse and the House that Jeter Built.
“We’ve gone from a small parade to one of the largest in the borough and the city,” said parade organizer Francisco Gonzalez said. “We’ve asked everyone to participate in the parade and we welcome you as family.”
In addition to inviting all elected officials from throughout the city and country, there will representatives from South America.
Marriacchi bands, Jamaican steel drum bands, motorcycle and car groups, salsa dancers, school bands, West Indian, salsa, Hip Hop and Ragaeton musicians and many more.
This year the parade will honor the works of unions such as DC 37 and 1199.
“We’ve embraced every ethnic group. We’re not excluding anyone,” Gonzalez said. “We’re including everyone.”
A music festival will take place on July 28th called Salsa in the Park at Crotona Avenue and Van Cortlandt Park.
This year’s parade will be extra special because it is the first one in two years. After canceling due to reports of thunderstorms last year, organizers this year are excited to launch the biggest party the borough has ever seen as the parade celebrates its 25th anniversary.
For the first time in over two decades there was no salsa on the Grand Concourse. No Bronxites lining the parade route listening to the music and seeing the sea of performers. Instead heavy morning rains and reports of severe thunderstorms moving into the area forced organizers to call off the parade.
“We apologize to everyone for canceling last year but we had to consider everyone’s safety,” Gonzalez said.
If anything, organizers say last year’s cancellation has created anticipation for this year’s festivities. There is a great deal of pent up demand for celebration and good news.
For more information go online: www.bxprparade.net