BRISTOL BOROUGH >> The smell of fried arepas wafted through the air as the sights and sounds of Puerto Rico filled the Bristol Borough waterfront on Saturday.
For the 48th year, the town’s Puerto Rican community came together to commemorate the individuals who immigrated to Bristol in the 1940s and who founded the Puerto Rican Festival as a way of sharing their roots and culture with the younger generations.
Everywhere you looked on Saturday, the culture of the Caribbean island was evident from the numerous flags being waved through the air with pride to the banquet of smells filling the air from mouth-watering island dishes being prepared by event vendors.
“I’m very happy,” said event organizer Maria Berrocal gazing around at the large turnout of people, many of them dressed in the colors of the Puerto Rican flag. “We’re having a lot of people and we’re going to get more people later on when the big group comes,” she said, referring to the event’s headliner, Jimmy Jorge and the Latin Express.
“Today we are remembering the people who came here from Puerto Rico in the 1940s - our parents, our uncles and families,” she said. “After they came here they wanted to stay. Now we are here with our children and grandchildren and we’re very proud to carry on their traditions. Every year we celebrate our culture and share it with our children with this beautiful festival.”
The Latin sounds of the island and colorfully-dressed dancers highlighted the day with performances by the Albasario Dancers, DJ Chepo, the Domination Dancers, Los Pleneros de USA, Grupo Aurora and free-style Sammy Zone. Also performing at the gazebo were Miguel Orlando y Musa de Campo, Sabrina Schaller and Buto.
Food from the island was also plentiful, from empanadas, pollo frito and pernil de cerdo to alcapurria, maduro and bacalas.
Many sought refuge from the warm July heat with cold pina coladas served in souvenir pineapple cups and decorated with small Puerto Rican flags.
The event is organized and held every July by the Puerto Rican Cultural Association of Bucks County, a non-profit organization that provides artistic and cultural events while educating the community and general public on the values of people of Hispanic descent.
The festival was sponsored by Parx Casino, the Bucks County Commissioners, Nerveida and Rodney Breustedt, Maria Berrocal, Galzerano Funeral Home, Enrique y Molina Family, EBD Dumpster, State Rep. John Galloway, the Golden Eagle, King George II Inn, Mill Street Cantina, CBM, Blue Chip, Wade Funeral Home, State Sen. Tomlinson, Fidelity Savings and Loan and Selecto.