BRONX, NEW YORK, MAY 29- Forget about Fleet week. The real kickoff to summer in the Boogie Down is the sound of salsa wafting through the Grand Concourse during the annual Bronx Puerto Rican Day Parade
This year some 110 groups from throughout the country and South America will march on the Grand Concourse in a celebration of the Bronx’s rich Puerto Rican heritage. The opening ceremony takes place in front of Poe Park at 11 a.m. on Sunday, June 1st. The parade will kick off 1 p.m. at 192nd Street and the Grand Concourse.
“The Bronx Puerto Rican Parade is no longer a local activity. Now we have international organizations participating,” said Francisco Gonzalez, chairman of the parade.
Citing the bands and cultural groups from South America and the Caribbean who will be on hand, Gonzalez said, “We embrace everybody.”
Marriacchi bands, Jamaican steel drum bands, car groups, salsa dancers, school bands, West Indian, salsa, Hip Hop and Ragaeton musicians, bicycle clubs, culture groups etc. from various cultures will all participate in the annual event.
The parade will honor the work of non-profit groups who have been struggling to make their communities a better place and promoting culture despite having a hard time getting funding in this tough economic time.
Elected officials of all stripes are expected to march in the parade during this heated election year.
In addition to the fun and music, the parade serves a more noble purpose. The event funds the scholarships for the parade prince and princess. The message is one that children from the Bronx can go on to achieve great things.
“If people like (Supreme Court Justice) Sonia Sottomayor can come from humble beginnings so can you,” Gonzalez said.
(Young beauty pageant winners and their parents after the annual contest.--Photos by Miriam Quin)
A few dozen young ladies competed during The Latinos Unidos Parade, Inc., Reina / Queen Kids Pageant on April 5, at the Latino Pastoral Action Center on West 170 Street in Highbridge. The selected winners will represent the borough in the annual Bronx Puerto Rican Day Parade. Winners competed dancing the Plena dance. This year’s winners in the 6-9 age group were Samira Falu, Nashaly Rodon and Leilani Rodriguez. The 28th annual parade will be held along the Grand Concourse on Sunday, June 1.