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Holyoke Fiesta Patronales Highlight Puerto Rican Culture

Holyoke comes to life with the sounds of the Fiesta Patronales de Holyoke, a four-day festival dedicated to the city’s patron saint, Our Lady of Guadalupe, filled with different musical styles and genres, dances and authentic music . Dine in a comfortable home environment near the Children’s Museum of Holyoke on Dwight Street.

Melvis Romero, a former Hollywood police officer and now head of security at the festival, said Fiesta Patronale takes place all over Latin America, especially Puerto Rico.

“This is a long-standing legacy. It’s been coming in Puerto Rico for years and years. It was held every year in every town and people from other towns were coming to celebrate in the square,” he said. . “Music belongs to everyone. You may like marange, salsa or musica, he may like typica.”

Romero described “Musica Typica” as early music with Spanish influences from the 18th and 19th centuries.

The city has long hosted a family-friendly cultural celebration known as the Family Hispanic Festival, Romero said. They were stopped about five years ago, he said. When it came time to revive the festival, the young group wanted to shift their focus to embracing the island’s heritage and Fiesta Patronales.

A shift in philosophy came when the city elected its first Puerto Rico mayor. This mayor leads the city’s newly growing cadre of Hispanic businessmen.

Mayor Joshua Garcia said celebrating diversity has long been hallmark of Holyoke.

Holyoke Mayor Joshua Garcia (left), along with his son Ethan, wife Stephanie and daughter Alison, enjoy the festivities at the city’s Fietas Patronales de Holyoke on Saturday.

“Holyoke has always embraced different cultures,” he said Saturday as he and his family enjoyed the music. “There is so much diversity in every corner of the city. When we embrace the culture and traditions of our people, it helps increase the pride of our community. There is one thing: the Irish community, the Puerto Rican community, the Polish community – we celebrate all cultures and come together as Holy Cars.”

The Fiesta Patronales de Holyoke kicks off Thursday night with musical performances on the main stage built on Dwight Street next to City Hall and continues through Sunday.

Romero said food trucks strategically parked around the festival area offer authentic Puerto Rican cuisine at very affordable prices.

Also part of the festival is a car show highlighting the work of local owners. Co-host Justin Sanchez said the show was designed around giving local owners a chance to showcase their hard work.

Fiesta Patronales

Almost everything on these cars is customized, from fenders to engines.

“There are no specific criteria for judging,” he said. “We look for creativity in your creations. Don’t go out and buy a Lamborghini and expect to win here. You can buy anything off-the-shelf. We want to see your own creations.” I think.”

The 40-50 cars that lined the closed Dwight Street were mostly mid-range Toyotas or Nissans, with the occasional Honda.

“That’s what we want to see,” Sanchez said. “We want someone who built their own car and put all their hard work into it.”