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Greater Waterbury

Puerto Rican Day Parade & Festival 

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About Our Committee

¡Pa' Lante!

 

Waterbury, Connecticut's first Puerto Rican Day Parade & Festival took place in 1969, Samuel Tirado Sr, of Guanica, Puerto Rico, and resident of Waterbury, was chosen by a representative committee to organize and stage the Connecticut Puerto Rican Day Parade and have it in the Brass City.

 

Later that year, Mr. Tirado Grand Marshaled the first Puerto Rican Day Parade in Waterbury.  The idea was to have the annual parade hosted in distinct cities around Connecticut each year. Since then, multiple cities in Connecticut such as Hartford, Meriden, Bridgeport, New Haven, New Britain and Waterbury have had the opportunity to host their own individual Puerto Rican Day Parade/Festival every year.

 

The second and last time Waterbury had a Puerto Rican Day Parade was in 1999 when again the statewide Parade was to be held in the Brass City. Local firefighter Alex Calderon, who was the 1999 local parade coordinator, says that the 35th annual statewide parade was one of the best. He claims that this parade had more than 50,000 spectators and people participating in the parade from around the state.

After the 1999 Connecticut Puerto Rican Day Parade/Festival cancellation, Waterbury Puerto Ricans and residents have lost their right to honor, recognize and celebrate a movement that started with them.

 

The current Waterbury Puerto Rican Day Parade & Festival Movement is a grassroots initiative started Founded by Mr. Nelson Rafael Feliciano-Roman who returned to his hometown of Waterbury after living away for 13 years.  Rafael founded the Afro-Caribbean Cultural Center and the Greater Waterbury Puerto Rican Day Parade and Festival.  He put out a call to the community to see if there was interest to ensure this Parade and Festival returned and a new era of Greater Waterbury's Afro-Latino/a/e individuals answered the call.  In 2022 the group held a Bombazo / Rally demanding the return and collected over 2,000 signatures and held the first ever Mr. & Miss Puerto Rico of Waterbury Pageant.  In 2023 they held the first ever "BoriFest," the official Festival of the Greater Waterbury Puerto Rican Day Parade & Festival Committee. In 2024 the Committee held the 2nd Annual Mr. & Miss Puerto Rico of Waterbury Pageant, and are partnering with the Hispanic Coalition of Greater Waterbury to create a weekend of Puerto Rican Celebration, that will include the Flag Raising / Mayor of the Day, the Festival and after a 25 year hiatus the Parade returns to Waterbury.  

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