The weather couldn’t deter the throngs of flag waving Puerto Ricans from celebrating their heritage along with fellow Bronxites at an inclusive melting pot of diverse cultures.
“Our tribute on this 20th anniversary is to our forefathers and our extended family,” Francisco Gonzalez, parade president and district manager of Community Board 9, said. “It has always been and always will be our custom and tradition as Puerto Ricans to embrace our family, friends and relatives; welcoming them into our homes.”
The political and equally Puerto Rican Rivera family celebrated in full force, with Councilman Joel dancing with constituents as his doting father and Bronx Democratic Party chairman Jose caught the whole afternoon on his video camera.
To show their dedication to the culture, a number of groups journeyed to the parade from as far as Puerto Rico itself.
The Rivera and Hughes Memorial Park Southend Cheerleaders visited from Waterbury, Connecticut, and entertained crowds with a series of energetic dances and cheers.
Representatives from the Puerto Rican towns of Mayaguez, Ponce, Loiza, Yauco and Dorado also marched in the day’s festivity.
Other youth groups, such as the 49th Precinct Explorers, New School for Leadership and Journalism and the Immaculate Conception School Vision Step Team, had a shorter trip.
Grand Marshall Borough President Adolfo Carrion, Jr. led the parade before he took his place among the other parade leaders under the bandstand, finding relief from the rain that continued to shower the energetic crowds.
“The Bronx Puerto Rican Day Parade is a great tradition in our borough,” said Carrion. “As borough president of this great community, I am proud to once more be part of this event. This parade demonstrates and represents the cultural values of our Puerto Rican community and its many contributions to our multi-ethnic culture.”