Feria del Barrio: 30 years and counting
This Sunday El Centro de Oro - along North 5th Street between Cambria and Lehigh Avenue- will revive one of the great traditions in the Philadelphia Latino community.
Starting at 12:30 p.m., the 30th Feria del Barrio will combine culture and art, entertainment and community services in the heart of Latino North Philly.
The festival has earned a special place in the hearts of Latinos in the city. For the past three decades and nearly three generations, it has become one of the most significant events of Hispanic Heritage Month.
The celebration is made possible by the joint efforts of the Feria del Barrio organizing committee, a collaboration between Taller Puertorriqueño, HACE, Congreso and Raíces Culturales.
"For each edition we recognize a figure that represents excellence in areas that include education, economic development and arts," said Carmen Febo, executive director of Taller Puertorriqueño.
This year the special honorees are the musical duo John (Johnny) and Aida Cruz.
The Puerto Rican musicians met at St. Boniface Church as choir members. Aida sings and plays guitar while Johnny plays cuatro and the piano.
The duo promotes Puerto Rican folk music with their group Raíces Boricuas — to increase cultural awareness of Puerto Rico’s music in children and the younger generations — often in partnership with Raíces Culturales and Taller Puertorriqueño.
"They've been in the community for many years promoting Puerto Rican folklore," Febo said. "And they’ve dedicated their life to music and to promote the traditions of both Puerto Rico, and other Latin American countries."
Febo also highlighted other headliners for this year: salsa star Julio César Sanabria with Puerto Rican cuatro virtuoso Edwin Colón Zayas, along Wanda Rivera and her Orchestra.
“The stage will combine traditional music with contemporary music, which will be an interesting mix," she said.
Febo had the opportunity to attend the first ever Feria del Barrio as a volunteer. She also recognized that one of the biggest changes has been the growth of the community and the scope of the event.
"That first time we only had about 500 people, that was huge for us. But now Feria del Barrio attracts thousands of people," said Febo, who has been director of Taller Puertorriqueño for the past 12 years.
"Every year it is a monumental battle (to organize) that brings lots of satisfaction. When we look back, we see the achievements, and look into the future with a lot of plans. Hopefully the Feria will continue to grow," Febo said.
For more information visit www.feria.tallerpr.org