Dominican pride in full swing leading up to Bronx Dominican Day Parade

Raise those flags high and be Dominican for the day.

Thousands are expected to line the Grand Concourse this Sunday, July 29 to cheer on marchers, musicians, sounds and spirit at the 23rd annual Bronx Dominican Day Parade.

With 42 floats, 109 groups marching and plenty of spectators, organizers said the parade will outnumber last month’s Bronx Puerto Rican Day Parade.

And in true Bronx fashion, festivities as colorful as the culture itself were already underway in advance of the local venue, with the launch of Bronx Dominican Day Parade Week 2012.

Among the events are the “Abrazo Dominicano” (The Dominican Hug), an honorary banquet at Maestro’s on Bronxdale Avenue this Friday, July 22.

“Whether you’re Dominican or not, come with us as brothers and sisters to celebrate,” urged Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., surrounded by longtime organizers and the parade’s grand marshal Pedro Alvarez of Concourse Village.

Immigrating from the Dominican Republic in the early 90s, Alvarez saw education as a source of upward mobility, a theme at this year’s parade. Pursuing English classes the moment he arrived, Alvarez eventually earned his bachelor’s from Fordham University. He later opened a small accounting firm that’s now thriving with nearly 5,000 clients.

“The parade focuses on everyone to get involved in the education of our children,” said Alvarez, representing the Family Life Academy charter school, a District 9 school exceling in every facet. “School makes a bridge from one place to another.”

Alvarez is one of 300,000 Bronx Dominicans that have carved a life for themselves since the ‘60s when a wave of native Dominicans arrived in the borough after the fall of dictator Rafael Trujillo.

Since then, the number of Dominicans has steadily climbed, according to U.S. Census figures.

The 2008 federal American Community Survey also shows Dominicans outpacing other ethnicities as the fast-growing population in the borough.

“I often say we’ve gone from the salsa county to salsarengue county,” said Diaz Jr., referring to D-R’s signature merengue dance.

Keeping in touch with the homeland, mainland Dominicans will be able to see a live stream of the parade on their local cable station.

The parade starts at noon at 176th Street and Grand Concourse, ending at 167th Street.

David Cruz can be reach via e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at (718) 742-3383