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Puerto Rican Festival Gets a New Look for 2021

Patti Singer

The Puerto Rican Festival returns in August with a new format and new locations.

The longest-running ethnic festival in Monroe County will be held over two days at two locations. The festival started in 1969 to celebrate and recognize the culture of Puerto Rico.

The festival is scheduled to run from 2 to 9 p.m. Aug. 14 at the International Plaza and from 2 to 10 p.m. Aug. 21 at Parcel 5. On both dates, children 17 or younger must be accompanied by an adult. Admission is free and the event will have live music and food.

It’s a change from the three-day, one-weekend schedule in previous years and was brought about by the uncertainty of COVID-19.

“When the governor removed all the restrictions from events, which was in June timeframe, we usually plan a festival in nine months,” said Puerto Rican Festival Inc, President Orlando Ortiz. “So, to host a festival in six weeks, given all the moving parts that that type of an event requires, we didn’t feel comfortable allocating all the resources to be able to execute it.”

Ortiz said splitting the event into two days over two venues made the event even more manageable and also gives the festival the opportunity to be among the first major events at the International Plaza.

“We’ve been wanting to do something over there,” he said. “It’s a new venue, a great event space.”

The site is smaller than Parcel 5, and Ortiz said attendees may be limited to about 2,000.

The Puerto Rican Festival Inc. also is partnering with the city on events leading up the festival:

  • Concerts by the Shore: Latino Night, 7-8:30 p.m., July 21, Ontario Beach Park, with DJ Bonitillo & Banda Light Free.
  • Bands on the Bricks: Latino Night, 6 to 10 p.m., Aug. 6, with DJ Johnny Mambo, Franco, El Matatan, La Nueva Secuencia, Carrion y los Pleneros, Sonidos Unidos. Free
  • Cocos Locos: Latino Day at Red Wings Baseball. 1:05 p.m., Aug. 8 Frontier Field. Cost varies. For the first time, the Red Wings will play as the Cocos Locos. The first 1,000 fans 21 and older will receive a Cocos Locos flag. There will be Latino music pregame in the walk of fame from noon-12:45pm and then throughout the game. Latino food will be available as well as Cocos Locos and other beverages. For tickets, go to or call 423-WING.

Ortiz said the Puerto Rican Festival Inc. also is working with Monroe County on a possible one-day event for Highland Bowl sometime between Sept. 27 and Oct. 10.

Ortiz said the county is looking to increase use at Highland Bowl and the thought was to have an event for Hispanic Heritage Month. It would be a ticketed event and 10% of each ticket price would go into a trust fund for the park.