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Puerto Rican Festival in New Haven returns after COVID hiatus

The festival was canceled in 2020 and 2021 because of the pandemic.

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — The Puerto Rican Festival will return to the New Haven Green Saturday from 1 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and feature a number of live performances.

Joseph Rodriguez with Puerto Ricans United, the organization that hosts the event, said it feels good bringing the celebration back downtown.

"Being able to get together and share the love of our culture with the broader New Haven community is special," the president said. "Over seven live bands performing including four acts that are coming directly from Puerto Rico."

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Along with the music will be food from a dozen food vendors including the pizza restaurant Michelina's. Luisa Marroquin said they're excited to make their debut at the event since opening in 2020.

"We’re very excited to be a part of the event tomorrow and it’s going to be our first time there and hopefully not our last," she said. "Obviously New Haven is full of different cultures. Different backgrounds. People from everywhere, so you will not only see Puerto Rican people downtown New Haven tomorrow, you’re going to see people from many different backgrounds."

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Michelina's Apizza and Ristorante in New Haven will make their first food truck debut at the Puerto Rican Festival Saturday.

The event was canceled in 2020 and 2021 because of the pandemic. Rodriguez said that was difficult as an organization based on culture and community.

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The event will also have a job fair as well as art pieces. Puerto Ricans United started less than 10 years ago as Puerto Ricans in the city wanted a festival back in New Haven. The Areyto and Loiza Festivals and Puerto Rican Day Parade used to fill the summer with Puerto Rican pride in the 1980s to early 2000s.

"This festival brings back so many memories. As a Puerto Rican who grew up here in the states and not on the island, I remember coming to the Puerto Rican festival and parades," Rodriguez said. "It just feels good to be able to come together and celebrate who we are and show folks that we are here."

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In 2019, Puerto Ricans accounted for nearly 9% of Connecticut's population. It increased 24% from 2010 to 2019, the Center for Puerto Rican Studies said. Rodriguez said there are more than 25,000 Puerto Ricans who call New Haven home.

For parking in the city, click here

Tony Black is a multi-media journalist at FOX61 News. He can be reached at tblack@fox61.com. Follow him on FacebookTwitter and Instagram


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