People from all walks of life danced on the steps of the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing on Sunday afternoon, as several Latin American bands played on a small stage overlooking the Delaware River.
This weekend, the annual Hispanic Fiesta, hosted by Concilio, celebrated 40 years in the City of Brotherly Love.
It’s a yearly celebration of local Latin American and Hispanic culture.
People attended for camaraderie, food, artisan crafts, and music — which included everything from merengue to salsa. Iconic artists like Charlie Aponte and Oro Solido graced the festival’s stage.
“There’s unity from all the Latin American countries. So you could get Puerto Rican stuff. You could get Mexican, Salvadoran, Honduran,” said Anna Maria Roldan, a Puerto Rico native, who said she’s attended the festival for more than 10 years.
“We live in a time that there’s war, and there’s hunger and prices are up,” Roldan said. “And we should be unified in this moment…more than before. In unity, there is strength.”
Dozens of restaurants, artists, clothing vendors, and community-oriented nonprofits assembled tents along the walkway to create an atmosphere that resembled a small-town market.
Christian Carrasco, a food truck vendor, said he’s served Puerto Rican food at the festival for 20 years.
“This brings back memories. We started here back in the day,” Carrasco said.
“We have a few customers that come here every year. They can’t wait for the festival to happen because they [get to eat] real Puerto Rican food, ” he added.
Concilio is a North Philadelphia-based nonprofit organization that offers social and family services and advocates for Latino communities.
Concilio Executive Director Adonis Vanegas said the city’s Latino culture is diverse, and that Philadelphia is home to Mexicans, Dominicans, Colombians, and Puerto Ricans, just to name a few different parts of the diaspora.
“That’s the beauty of it, because we all come together. And we all have a common thing that brings us together, which is our dance and our music and our food. And that’s what the event is all about,” Vanegas said.
Vanegas said the festival was for anyone who wished to celebrate.
“We invite all cultures, all races, all genders, all backgrounds to come and celebrate with us because it’s not about who you are. It’s about what we can celebrate together,” Vanegas said. “And that’s what we try to do in this event. Enjoy the summer, reduce the gun violence in the community, and support your local nonprofits.”
The Hispanic Fiesta is part of PECO’s summer Multicultural Series.
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