By: Edwin Martinez
The annual Buffalo Puerto Rican and Hispanic Day Parade came through Avenida San Juan on Aug. 20, 2016 with music, dancing and residents celebrating the weekend. The parade included Congressman Brian Higgins, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, Dunkirk Mayor and Grand Marshall Willie Rosas, Jr. Grand Marshal Lukas Alvira , Miss Borinquen Merce DeJesus and the President of the Parade Yolanda Martinez-Rodriguez.
The annual Buffalo Puerto Rican and Hispanic Day Parade came through Niagara Square and up Niagara Street ending in LaSalle Park Saturday with music, dancing and residents celebrating the weekend.
This year the Parade organizers moved the annual event to August; following months of discussion with City of Buffalo resident who had expressed concerns with bad weather in previous years.
Thousands of residents enjoyed the music of Charlie Cruz, Michael Stuart, Antonetti, La Krema, Ronny Y , Mariachi Band Zelaya and a host of other entertainers.
The theme of this year's parade was REPRESENTA.
The crowds of thousands waved flags from their native countries and danced the weekend away celebrating their cultures and being thankful for they’re new found home.
The president of the Parade committee, Yolanda Martinez- Rodriguez said “I want to take this time to thank my amazing board for putting forth their best efforts to make the 2016 Puerto Rican and Hispanic Day Parade of WNY the best for our community and surrounding areas. I have the best two Vice Presidents, Crystal Rodriguez and Bernice DeJesus that do so much behind the scenes to ensure all runs smooth and bring their families into the mix to make sure all gets done. Alex Sarabia our Treasure that works closely on our finances and did so much running around this weekend. We also have brought on new members that have also stepped up to the plate this year and really taught us what teamwork is, Octavio Villegas, Erika Espinosa and Emily Melendez and Luis Santos. I also want to thank my family who works endless hours with me to make this happen. My husband Eugenio, who is my rock and right hand man. Without you this would not be possible. I put my kids Emilia and Alex through so much and they still stick by my side to make sure all works smoothly (love you both so much). Thank you Frank Reyes and Sam DeJesus you never fail us. Thank you to our Artist, drivers that do so much, quietly and discrete. And most important I thank all those that took time this weekend to volunteer and bring this all together. "It takes a village is right". This parade and festival's success depends on sponsors and everyone in our community and I thank you.
This years events had the most participants and attendance in the history of the Parade.