The 39th Feria del Barrio showcased the heart and soul of Philadelphia’s Latino community Sunday.
A coalition of organizations (Taller Puertorriqueño, Asociación de Puertorriqueños en Marcha (APM), Congreso de Latino Unidos, HACE, Raíces Culturales Latinoamericanas) invited people from all over to El Centro de Oro on North 5th Street between Huntingdon and Somerset.
The event highlighted Latino art and culture as displayed by the musical performances up and down the street and on the stage, including Los Bomberos De La Calle.
For a decade, the group has showcased not only their Puerto Rican heritage, but also their love and appreciation for North Philadelphia, an area rocked by the city’s gun violence crisis. Group director Anthony Mendez said those incidents shouldn’t represent the entire community.
“The people are awesome,” Mendez said. “It’s just that you have those very few that do these things, and there are some people that follow … but if you keep these things going, these positive movements, you’re going to see the outcome of it eventually.”
Taller Puertorriqueño Executive Director Nasheli Ortiz Gonzalez said it was due to the neighborhood’s resiliency and commitment to create community.
“We need spaces that are holding spaces that are creating different narrative[s] and are telling our story,” Gonzalez said. “It’s very important that spaces like these tell our story from our voices and nobody else saying what we are, where we are going.”
Mendez said the best way to dispel any negative stereotypes associated with the neighborhood is to come and experience it for yourself.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re Puerto Rican, from the Dominican Republic, from [the]
Caribbean, wherever you’re from, we are very engaging with the community,” Mendez said. “It’s very important just to keep that positive aspect, con la comunidad, with the community and just, you know, keep giving some good vibes.”
The good vibes weren’t dampened by the inclement weather that was looming Sunday just before the event.
Also Sunday, the Mexican Independence Day Festival took place at Penn’s Landing, which was preceded by a parade of decorated cars around City Hall.
Saturdays just got more interesting.