Aurora Puerto Rican Festival begins this weekend

AURORA – The Aurora Puerto Rican Cultural Council will host its annual two-day community celebration in Aurora this weekend.

The 43rd annual Aurora Puerto Rican Festival kicks off at 11 a.m. Saturday at RiverEdge Park, 360 N. Broadway. The weekend events celebrate the Puerto Rican heritage with music, cuisine and talent unique to the island of Puerto Rico, a community “rich in culture and explosive in pride,” said Mirna Lopez-Freitag, president of the Aurora Puerto Rican Cultural Council.

The festival will continue until 10:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday until 10:30 p.m. General admission is $5 and children 5 and under are free. Festival organizers expect between 6,000 and 8,000 people each day at the park.

A talent competition begins at 1 p.m. Saturday at the park, where singers and dancers will perform in front of a live audience, said Lopez-Freitag. Those interested in competing in Saturday’s talent competition must audition at 6:30 p.m. Friday night at Dance Fuze Studio, 908-G N. Lake St., Aurora.

The Puerto Rican parade, the highlight of the weekend, will start at noon on Sunday at the corner of River and Benton streets in the city’s downtown. The parade provides an opportunity for the Puerto Rican community to showcase its culture with parade floats, music and 2014 Miss Puerto Rico and her court.

Jalitza Colon-Martinez, assistant principal at McCleery Elementary School, has been named grand marshal of this year’s Puerto Rican parade in Aurora.

Saturday’s festival lineup includes performances by:

11:45 a.m.: DNA

1 p.m.: Talent competition

3:30 p.m.: Viaje

5 p.m.: Latin Groove

6:30 p.m.: Orquesta Suave

8 p.m.: Mateo y los Bachateros

9 p.m.: Tito Allen

Sunday events include:

Noon: Puerto Rican Festival parade

1:30 p.m.: Anthem

2 p.m.: Tony y los Campesinos

2:45 p.m.: Impacto Boricua

3:45 p.m.: Bompleneras

4:45 p.m.: Jack n Jill Salsa Dance

5:45 p.m.: Chi Town Bachata

7 p.m.: Orquesta Illuziones

8:45 p.m.: Grupo Riyko & Juancho

Puerto Rican, Colombian and Mexican food will be served at the festival.

For more information on the festival or parade, contact Lopez-Freitag at 630-631-9270 or visit www.auroraprcc.org.

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