Buffalo, NY - Mayor Byron W. Brown today marked the start of Puerto Rican and Hispanic Heritage Week in Buffalo with a flag raising ceremony in Niagara Square. The flag raising ceremony kicked off a week of special events across Buffalo’s Hispanic community, culminating with the Puerto Rican & Hispanic Day Parade, on Saturday, August 18, along Niagara Street (Avienda San Juan).
Following the parade, a two-day festival will be held in La Salle Park, featuring music, food and Hispanic cultural activities.
“Our City’s Puerto Rican and Hispanic Community has deep roots, and represents a very powerful economic and cultural force, which makes an important and continuing contribution to Buffalo’s diversity,” Mayor Brown said.
The theme of this year’s festival is “Esperanza,” which means hope. The theme has special meaning in the wake of Hurricane Maria, which devastated Puerto Rico. Buffalo’s Puerto Rican and Hispanic community led a city-wide effort to raise money to assist hurricane victims rebuild their lives, as well as organizing donations of household goods to help Puerto Rican residents build new lives in the City of Buffalo.
The Grand Marshal of the 2018 parade is Lucy Candelario, Executive Director of The Belle Center.
Crystal Rodriguez, the City’s Chief Diversity Office is president of the 2018 celebration. Charlie Torres and Norma Potter are this year’s co-vice presidents.
Newly-appointed Deputy Fire Commissioner Ramon J. Suarez raised the Puerto Rican flag, and Buffalo Common Council Majority Leader David A. Rivera raised the U.S. flag.