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Lorain’s Boricua Festival celebrates Puerto Rican traditions

By Ingrid Marie Rivera, La Prensa Correspondent


LORAIN: “La tierra de Borinquen, donde he nacido yo, es un jardín florido de mágico primor...”

A taste of Puerto Rico’s rich traditions - its music, food and culture – were all celebrated in South Lorain this past weekend when the local Puerto Rican Home Club hosted its 14th annual Boricua Festival and 4th annual Puerto Rican Parade, Sept. 16-17, 2011.

The festival featured a Latino Art show and silent auction, folkloric music and dance by Julia de Burgos’ dance group Isla del Encanto, raffles, domino games and a Talent Show Saturday. Roughly 100 people attended the club Friday, said Julie Ortiz, the club’s secretary.

Dozens of people lined up to watch the parade Saturday afternoon, many carrying Puerto Rican flags or displaying their Puerto Rican pride on T-shirts, hats and banners. The parade welcomed floats filled with artists performing the cherished music of the island.
Grupo Los Maximos, a reggaeton group from Lorain, performed their original song “Puerto Rico” atop El BoriMex club’s float.  One group marched and chanted “Stop deportations. Keep families together.” Like any Puerto Rican parade, there were no shortage of a variety of cars, trucks and motorcycles.


Some spectators wondered why there was a Puerto Rican parade and not a Mexican parade in South Lorain on Sept. 16 – Mexico’s Independence Day.  But for the Santiago family watching the parade, the day was a double special treat.  Marylou Ornelas watched the parade near Pearl Avenue with her daughter Emily Santiago, 8, daughter, Gabriela Santiago, 11, and son, Pedro Santiago, 13. They are proud of both their Puerto Rican and Mexican heritage. The Santiagos’ three cousins including Jayden Santiago Ott, 9, joined them, and they were waiting for more family to turnout for the parade. Emily, Gabriela, Pedro and Jayden said they would love to learn more Spanish and visit their Puerto Rico and Mexico someday, and listed their favorite ethnic foods.


Among their Puerto Rican favorite dishes they listed rice, pernil (pork) and alcapurrias; among their Mexican dishes: tacos, they said in unison.


And that is the festival’s exact purpose: to teach and reacquaint both the young and old with their Puerto Rican culture, in addition to serving as the home’s main fundraiser. Evelyn Vásquez, one organizer for this year’s pageant for the Puerto Rican home, said she wants the young to learn their culture. 


Eight girls are competing in the 2011 pageant. Running for Miss Chiquitita are Nahivelys Marrero and Ajaysha Quiñones; Running for Princesa are Nadia García and María Pedraza; and Running for Reina are Quirena Olivencia, Rose Sánchez, Jaileene Sánchez, and Bianca Cruz. The 5th annual pageant will take place Oct. 8, 2011 at the home, and will feature a talent portion.

“The girls are doing so well. They are learning about their culture, learning dances of Plena and Bomba, learning how to speak Spanish,” Vásquez said.

She added that she wanted to thank the previous organizer of the pageant, Nidia Silva. “She did a wonderful job for the last four years.”


Nidia Silva and her husband, Juan Silva, former President of the Puerto Rican Home, had organized the Boricua Festival for many years. This year, the Puerto Rican Home welcomed a change in leadership. Its new officers include President Mon Rivera, Vice President Million Medina, Treasurer Rosie García, and Secretary Julie Ortiz.  Juan Silva previously said it was time for him to step aside from his leadership position but that he would continue to help the Latino community in other ways.


Richard Romero, magazine editor and writer, joined the Puerto Rican Home’s leaders and helped provide funds for the festival’s entertainment this year. Romero said he wants to help the ethnic clubs. “Many ethnic clubs are closing up because they can’t survive in this economy,” Romero said “A lot of people don’t have the opportunity to go to Puerto Rico, so let’s bring the culture to them,” he said.


To see video coverage of the Puerto Rican Parade log onto La Prensa’s YouTube Page: http://www.youtube.com/user/LaPrensaWeekly


In honor of Puerto Rico, here is its National Anthem, Himno Nacional de Puerto Rico,

“La Borinqueña.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ds8txCOwLuc


La tierra de Borinquen

donde he nacido yo

es un jardín florido

de mágico primor.

Un cielo siempre nítido

le sirve de dosel

y dan arrullos plácidos

las olas a sus pies.

Cuando a sus playas llegó Colón

exclamó lleno de admiración:

"Oh!, oh!, oh!, ésta es la linda tierra

que busco yo."

Es Borinquen la hija,

la hija del mar y el sol,

del mar y el sol,

del mar y el sol,

del mar y el sol,

del mar y el sol.

The land of Borinquen

where I have been born

is a flowery garden

of magical beauty.

A constantly clear sky

serves as its canopy

and placid lullabies are sung

by the waves at its feet.

When at her beaches Columbus arrived

full of awe he exclaimed,

"Oh!, oh!, oh!, this is the lovely land

that I seek."

Borinquen is the daughter,

the daughter of the sea and the sun.

Of the sea and the sun,

of the sea and the sun,

of the sea and the sun,

of the sea and the sun.



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Copyright © 1989 to 2011 by [LaPrensa Publications Inc.]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 09/20/11 19:19:21 -0700.





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