Loiza fiesta returns to East Harlem

Bring this summer festival to its colorful beauty at the 30th annual Fiesta Of Santiago Apostol of Loiza Puerto Rico in El Barrio, USA., the centuries-old, African-derived festival transplanted into East Harlem.

Join in the celebration Thursday, July 27-29 (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) at 104th Street and Lexington Avenue, 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Multi-colored slurpies scraped from a block of ice, fried patties of platanos (banana) stuffed with stewed chicken and veggies, while an ice cold virgin piña colada or coconut drink cool off the many visitors that each year attend the annual New York event.

A project of Hermanos Fraternos de Loiza Aldea in partnership with The Caribbean Cultural Center & El-Barrio Taino Towers, this year’s celebration brings a diverse community together in a three-day celebration of a centuries-old tradition steeped in African roots mixed with Spanish culture and Caribbean flavor.

Syncopated rhythms from various groups make these streets come alive with dancing, druming and singing. Elders share stories among storytellers as tourists curiously ponder over the many kiosks that feature folkloric arts & crafts showcasing African handiwork hard to find in this city.

Children learn the history of this festival as they decorate and make their own vegigante masks and costumes. They also have their own procession and showcase, as the three-day festival focuses on children, women and men, highlighting each gender’s achievements and accomplishments throughout the year.

At a time when East Harlem is quickly being gentrified, the annual Loiza Festival keeps Puerto Rican traditions firmly grounded in a community that shares its centuries-old customs with those coming up behind them.

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