Printed: 8/9/2022 2:51:04 PM
HOLYOKE — Hundreds of individuals poured into the Paper Metropolis over the weekend for a pageant filled with music, meals and Puerto Rican tradition.
This previous weekend marked the primary annual Fiestas Patronales de Holyoke — a conventional pageant held in cities and cities throughout Puerto Rico and now, for the primary time, Holyoke.
Occasion organizers say that as many as 15,000 individuals visited town over the weekend, having fun with music from a big stage on Dwight Road proper throughout from Heritage State Park, meals vans and cubicles run by native eating places, and extra.
“It was an enormous success,” mentioned Melvin Sanchez, one of many pageant’s organizers. “I believe for this committee coming collectively for the primary time, taking six or seven months to plan this occasion out and actually not having the conventional expertise or the group experience that the occasion planners normally have, it was an unimaginable occasion.”
Sanchez attributed a few of that success to reserving well-known acts like the favored merengue acts Grupo Manía and Juancho, in addition to the salsa artist Viti Ruiz. The organizing committee additionally marketed on fashionable Spanish-language media within the leadup to the pageant.
Fiestas Patronales are fashionable cultural and non secular festivals throughout the island of Puerto Rico, the place cities fete their patron saint and residents collectively to have a good time. Occasion organizers selected Our Girl of Guadalupe as Holyoke’s patron saint, based mostly on town’s Spanish-speaking parish of the identical title.
For a lot of in Holyoke — a metropolis the place 54.6% of residents determine as Hispanic, most of them Puerto Rican — the pageant was an opportunity for individuals to expertise that custom for the primary time.
“I used to be at work all day immediately smiling,” At-large Metropolis Councilor José Maldonado Velez mentioned. His mom, one of many occasion organizers, grew up in Puerto Rico and at all times talked concerning the fiestas, he mentioned. “I’ve identified my complete life about it and eventually obtained to expertise it.”
Maldonado Velez mentioned that on Sunday alone, greater than 7,000 individuals got here to town to have a good time.
“I believe the most important factor for me is sending a message that us Latinos are able to doing nice issues,” he mentioned. “We will’t preserve saying there’s nothing to do, we now have to cre ate it.”
Sanchez mentioned that organizers need the Fiestas Patronales to turn out to be a practice within the area, like taking youngsters to see chickens hatching at The Huge E.
“That is one thing we wish to do as a practice the place dad and mom can take their children,” he mentioned.
Already on Monday, the day after the occasions, Sanchez mentioned the organizing committee is planning the second Fiestas Patronales de Holyoke.
“We’re assembly this night and we already are planning what the potential bands may be for subsequent yr,” he mentioned.