Puerto Rican parades and festivals in CT announced for summer 2023
Festivals, parades and pageants celebrating Puerto Rican culture will take place across Connecticut this spring and summer. A coalition of statewide Puerto Rican Day Parade and Festival Committees recently announced their summer schedule of Puerto Rican cultural celebrations.
The festivals will be held from June through September in towns with significant populations of people with ties to Puerto Rico.
The parades are put together by volunteers and are focused on more than just promoting Puerto Rican culture, said Samuel Vega, president of Hartford chapter of the Connecticut Institute for Community Development-Puerto Rican Parade Committee.
"I think it is our duty not only to promote Puerto Rican culture," Vega said. "It's very important to keep our tradition alive to the new generation."
The celebrations will open on June 10 with the Boriken Festival of Eastern CT in New London at Ocean Beach Park, followed by Borifest on July 22 in Waterbury.
Then the Meriden Puerto Rican Festival at Hubbard Park on Aug. 6, and the New Haven Puerto Rican Festival on the New Haven Green Aug. 12.
The summer will culminate with the “Puerto Rican Parade and Festival del Coquí” in Hartford on Sept. 10.
The events will feature traditional folk music such as the percussion-driven Bomba and plena and traditional cuisine.
The first Puerto Rican parade in Hartford was in 1964. Although CICD is perhaps best known for their parades and festivals, Vega wants people to learn more about the committee’s work.
"We raise scholarships for young leaders to become someone in life,” Vega said. “We have been coming together [when] anything devastating [happens] on the island. For example, Hurricane Maria when it hit about 5 years ago."
Vega also mentioned Little Miss Puerto Rico, which will take place on May 27, as another cultural event focused on teaching contestants about Boricua heritage.
According to the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College, 8.5% of Connecticut's populationidentifies as Puerto Rican. Each year, Vega said, between 5,000 and 10,000 people attend each festival.