Hartford came alive with the sights and sounds of Puerto Rico.
From a parade to a festival, the annual celebration returned after a break during the pandemic.
“It's just a good feeling. It's a good vibe. It's family-oriented, the noise, the music, everything is just joyful,” said Diane Ortiz.
Thousands came to celebrate the 2022 Hartford Puerto Rican Parade and Festival on Sunday.
“I’m having a good time, listening to music, enjoying the food, the drinks,” said Johanna Rivera of Meriden.
Some 3,000 participants stepped off in what we’re told is the largest parade in the Hartford region.
Many were happy for its return.
“Two and a half years of this COVID has put a lot of damper on a lot of activities. But this was a great comeback,” said Edwin Vargas, parade and festival grand marshal.
Among those taking part were school groups and bands, cultural groups, local leaders, police and fire, faith groups and others.
The parade ended at Bushnell Park and that’s where a party really took off.
“We came here to celebrate our culture and our history,” said Damarilys Rivera.
At the festival, up to 10,000 people had a chance to get up and dance as some of the best Puerto Rican talent from locally and beyond took to the stage.
“The energy is just like over a thousand. Like I’m just really excited,” said Evangeline Berrios.
Folks also scoped out vendors selling merchandise, souvenirs, handmade arts and crafts, as well as food, including favorite Puerto Rican dishes.
“I love it. I love being around stuff like this. Every year it gets better,” said Antoine Bagley of Hartford.