Festival to celebrate Puerto Rican food, culture

06/12/2014 3:58 PM

06/12/2014 3:59 PM

In March, a group of native Puerto Ricans now living in Wichita got together to talk about ways to form a community away from home.

Three months later, they’ve planned an all-out fiesta, which will fill Nomar Marketplace at 204 E. 21st St. with Puerto Rican food, music, dancing and culture on Saturday night.

The party, scheduled for 6 to 11 p.m., is intended to give the estimated 5,000 Puerto Ricans living in Wichita a way to get a taste of their native culture while giving non-Puerto Ricans a glimpse of what makes the country great.

“We want for people to remember their culture from Puerto Rico and know they’re not alone here,” said Ivonne Cruz, one of the festival’s organizers. “There are a lot of Puerto Ricans here that they can meet and share and have fun with.”

Puerto Rican food will be a big part of the festival.

Visitors can purchase items such as bacalitos, which are cod fritters, and alcapurrias, fritters made with pork and green bananas. Cooks also will be roasting a pig on site, and onlookers can watch the process. Local restaurant Taste & See will provide a cash bar at the festival.

Latin music will be performed by Miguel “Mambo” DeLeon and his orchestra, and dancers will perform traditional Puerto Rican dances. A dance floor also will be set up for anyone moved by the mambo music.

Other activities will include face painting, a Miss Puerto Rico contest and vendors selling Puerto Rico souvenirs such as umbrellas, flags and T-shirts.

Organizers are hoping to make it an annual event.

“I want people to know that Puerto Ricans are good people,” Cruz said. “We have a lot to share with people.”

Admission to the event is free.

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