A day ahead of the Puerto Rican parade, a street festival in East Harlem on Saturday celebrated all things Hispanic. NY1's Amanda Farinacci filed the following report.
There was no shortage of Puerto Rican flags, shirts and even masks at the 116th Street Festival in East Harlem on Saturday. The annual event falls one day ahead of the Puerto Rican Day parade, making it a weekend of celebration for the city's Puerto Rican community.
"Everybody comes here to show their support, bring their families, show the love that we have for our heritage. That's mainly what this is about," said an attendee.
Celebrating its 25th year, the festival is the largest Latino street festival in the entire Northeast. Spanning 20 blocks, it offered music, food, games, live performances and plenty of people who dressed to show their pride and packed the street.
"People get dressed up to really represent where they from, and really represent Puerto Rico, like, big," said a participant.
Thousands turned out for the festival, which draws Hispanics from all over, and walked along Third Avenue eating Puerto Rican food, dancing and mingling with friends and family.
"I think it's beautiful -- the music, the people," said a visitor.
Those who attend the street fair and parade every year said they love most how the weekend lets them feel close to their native Puerto Rico.
"The food, the people, the culture. We a beautiful people, you know, the music. When you come over here, you just see it's Puerto Rico sprayed out over here in a few blocks," said a participant. "And that's the beautiful part about it, we get to see who we are as a people."
"I just love this place, man. It brings me back to my old self. I feel like i'm in touch with my culture again," said another.
Of course, the fun continues when the Puerto Rican Day Parade kicks off Sunday at noon.