Monday, July 16, 2012

Puerto Rican Festival High Street New Britain, CT - 7.14.2012

Puerto Rican Festival High Street New Britain, CT - 7.14.2012

Published on Jul 14, 2012 by
7/14/2012 Mike Orazzi | Staff
Alfred Rivera plays the national anthems of the United States and Puerto Rico during the 25th Annual Puerto Rican Festival on High Street in New Britain on Saturday.

The New Britain Herald (, Serving New Britain, Conn., and surrounding areas

Thousands in attendance at the Puerto Rican festival (VIDEO)

Saturday, July 14, 2012 11:41 PM EDT

Staff Writer
NEW BRITAIN ��” The aroma of pork, chicken and sweet plantains ��” a Puerto Rican staple ��” filled the air at the 25th annual Puerto Rican Festival Saturday.

The festival, complete with music, traditional foods and many vendors, showed off the rich Puerto Rican culture and attracted more than 5,000 people throughout the day.

Siblings Carmen and Nelson Santiago lounged in their blue lawn chairs outside 152 High St., to enjoy the free concerts the festival offered.

“We try to come here every year,” Carmen said. “We brought our chairs to relax and just sit and enjoy watching the shows, listening to the music and just watching the people interact.”

Carmen said although it’s nothing like being back at home in Puerto Rico, the festival reminds her a lot of how it used to be growing up in Puerto Rico.

“The smell of the food reminds me a lot,” she said. “And just all the people walking around the streets eating and dancing to salsa.”

Traditional Puerto Rican fares included, alcapuris, meat pudding made with green bananas; arroz con grandules, which is rice with pigeon beans and deep-fried stuffed potatoes.

The extravaganza, which was hosted by the Puerto Rican Society, is an important celebration for New Britain because of its high percentage of Puerto Rican residents.

About 30 percent of the city’s 74,000 residents are of Puerto Rican decent, according to Isabel Rosa, festival coordinator.

“We really feel like we are in Puerto Rico when we celebrate every year,” she said.

Ann Boyd, a Meriden resident drove to New Britain specifically for the festival.

“I brought my father to the festival. He doesn’t like to go anywhere, but he never misses the festival,” Boyd said. “He always tells me he needs to go to represent his Island.”

The festival took up at least two city blocks on and around High Street.

Vendors sold everything from Puerto Rican flags, t-shirts, music including merengue, salsa and Latin jazz.

Zovera Sanchez, of Hartford said she doesn’t always get a chance to enjoy the festivities due to travel, however, when she gets the opportunity she never misses it.

“It’s just such a fun thing to come and do,” she said. “It’s nice to see everyone just having a good time and you get to learn about your roots.”

According to the society, the festival is another way to combat challenges faced by Puerto Ricans new to the city, such as language barriers and it also introduces them to the large Puerto Rican community.

LLuvia Mares can be reached at (860) 584-0501, ext. 7238 or

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