Nancy Quiñones, the spokesperson for the Puerto Rican Resources Center and Chamber of Commerce in Jacksonville, reported this month’s successful Puerto Rican Parade and Festival in St Augustine. This year’s theme was Bringing the flavor of our Island “La Isla del Encanto”. The celebration was held at the St Johns County Fairground in Elkton on Saturday, November 19, 2022, and was a free event.
Quiñones described the Northeast Florida Puerto Rican Parade and Festival as one of the most important festivals of the year. Although the Florida Puerto Rican Parades and Festivals are celebrating their 9th year, this is the first time the celebration has been held in St Augustine.
“The Mission of the Puerto Rican Parade and Festival is to teach our culture, bring the flavor of our Island, and to show off our customs for other people in the community,” Quiñones told local Historic City News reporters. “The collection of colorful shows was established to promote the Puerto Rican community, our culture, and heritage, to share a taste of our cuisine, and music, and to recall the contributions made by Puerto Ricans to the State of Florida.”
Festival leaders included:
- Carlos Baez – the Great Marshall
- Milexie Martinez – Queen of the Parade
- Eliana Tinoco – Children’s Queen
- Alanie Cooper – Ambassador
- Jenneffer De Jesus – the Godmother of Culture
- Jonatan Rivera – the Godfather of Culture
- Raphael Cosme – the Godfather of the Parade
- Arlene Ortiz – the Godmother of the Parade
The day was filled with excitement including Salsa music by Jay Quintero y the “Costeros”, the Navy Band, and Domingo Quinones, a famous singer from Puerto Rico. Paso Fino horses were on display, dancing along with tropical Jibara music. Children found the Kid Zone where they enjoyed apple glaze and cotton candy.
Those attending this year came ready to dance with local and regional acts that united festival-goers with the rhythm of Latin American music, dance, and the arts.
The Puerto Rican parade was dedicated to Virgen Lopez who passed away last Christmas. Lopez was a volunteer who for many years provided the organization “a good name” through her efforts, according to Quiñones. The Puerto Rican Parade and Festival is a non-profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization. Quiñones said that all funds are used to help members of the community in need through the Puerto Rican Resources Center.