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Logan Square, Humboldt Park, Avondale

Humboldt Park’s 44th Annual Puerto Rican Parade And Festival Returns This Weekend With Live Music, Puerto Rican Food And More

Division Street between Western Avenue and Humboldt Boulevard, along with all intersecting cross streets, will be closed to car traffic during the parade Saturday.

The annual Puerto Rican People's Parade.
Puerto Rican Parade Committee of Chicago
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HUMBOLDT PARK — Humboldt Park’s most anticipated events of the summer are upon us.

Fiestas Patronales Puertorriqueñas, the neighborhood’s annual Puerto Rican festival, kicked off 4 p.m. Thursday, bringing carnival rides, Puerto Rican food and drinks, live music and other activities to Humboldt Park’s namesake park. The festivities will resume for a second day 4 p.m. Friday.

On Saturday, gaggles of people will take to Division Street for the 44th annual Puerto Rican People’s Day Parade, another Humboldt Park tradition.

More than 100 groups — car clubs, motorcycle associations and local bands — are slated to participate in this year’s parade, which steps off 2 p.m. at Division Street and Western Avenue with dozens of floats, organizers said.

Division Street between Western Avenue and Humboldt Boulevard, along with all intersecting cross streets, will be closed to car traffic during the parade, city spokeswoman Erica Schroeder said.

This year’s parade will also commemorate the 50th anniversary of Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos Puerto Rican High School. The Humboldt Park high school at 2739 W. Division St. started off as a “small escuelita in a basement” and has grown into a 200-student powerhouse, said Jessie Fuentes, of the Puerto Rican Agenda.

“Our parade is more than just a celebration of our rich cultural heritage,” organizers said in a news release. “It also provides a space to address other social issues like the visibility of our trans people, the vibrancy of our LGBTQ+ community, the dynamics of our youth, the wisdom of our elders, and the challenges of gentrification and other forms of colonial violence.”

The parade and festival are being held on the same weekend for the first time in two years. Last year, organizers held the two events on different weekends — the parade in mid-June and the festival in September. A festival organizer said there was confusion surrounding the city’s reopening plan.

The festival was canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic, though there were unofficial caravan celebrations.

Jose Lopez, executive director for the Puerto Rican Cultural Center, the organization that oversees the parade, said it’s “wonderful” to be joining forces with the festival organizers again for a combined celebration, especially as the neighborhood continues to gentrify.

“We ask that the people who come here [to] understand that we invested almost 80 years in this community, and I think those flags attest to that,” Lopez said, referring to the towering Puerto Rican flags that bookend Paseo Boricua.

“The people who come here should be our guests and feel welcome, but at the same time, they’re not trying to displace us, they’re not trying to take over this park and claim it. This park has historically been a center of the Puerto Rican people.”

The Daniel Ramos Puerto Rican Festival Committee replaced the embattled Puerto Rican Parade Committee, which was investigated for financial misconduct by the Illinois Attorney General’s Office.

For more information about this year’s festival and parade, go here.

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