Thursday, September 20, 2018

Feria del Barrio in Philadelphia: A True Community Festival, taking place on Sunday, September 23

Longtime Philly resident Elba Dormoi showing her ornate Panamanian pollera at the Feria in 2017
The Latino community of Philadelphia is an integral part of the city's tourism offerings. At a short distance from the center of town, many cultural manifestations such as food are available. With that in mind, tours were developed hitting some of the key community centers and sampling the culture.

One event located in this same community is the Feria del Barrio, which loosely translated means Neighborhood Block Party, but in reality this is a larger festival than a typical block party. This event has been in existence since 1979 and is an important component of the Latino community's efforts to affirm and celebrate their heritage with performances, food, crafts and activities for kids. I always like to participate in these events as a way to experience the culture when I can't travel to the countries directly.

I have been to so many of the Ferias over the years that I've lost count, but I can say that I've been more involved in its planning starting in 2016 via the organization I co-founded with Yolanda Alcorta in 1991, Raíces Culturales Latinoamericanas (Latin American Cultural Roots), or Raíces for short ( The event this year takes place Sunday, September 23, from noon to 5 pm and stretches north two blocks from 5th and Huntingdon Streets to 5th and Somerset Streets, with the main stage in the middle at 5th St. and Lehigh Ave. The co-sponsors along with Raíces are Taller Puertorriqueño, Congreso de Latinos Unidos, and HACE (Hispanic Association of Contractors and Enterprises), along with Telemundo 62. We are especially enthusiastic this year because we are increasing our cultural offerings at our tables in front of the Taller Puertorriqueño's beautiful modern facility, opened in 2016. We'll feature workshops from the performing groups Inca Wayra, Ballet Folklórico Yaretzi, and Raíces Boricuas, as well as a Guatemalan weaver. The website is if you want to learn more.

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