The Puerto Rican People’s Parade took place on Saturday afternoon in Humboldt Park, and crowds danced, marched, and sang as freed activist Oscar Lopez Rivera served as the Grand Marshal.
Rivera, who was freed in May after decades in custody, was named the Grand Marshal of the parade shortly after he was released, and his participation met with some mixed reactions.
Rivera was called a patriot by organizers of the parade as he returned to his neighborhood. Some accepted him in diplomatic fashion.
“He’s a Puerto Rican, so we have to support him,” one parade goer said.
While Rivera’s marching in the parade dominated the headlines, most participants came to enjoy the festivities, as thousands gathered for the raucous parade.
“We’re just surrounded by positivity. I love coming back home from Puerto Rico and seeing my family,” parade attendee Alexis Caraballo said.
Countless floats and marchers moved down the streets in Humboldt Park, as Puerto Rican culture, music, and heritage were all celebrated.
“The turnout has been fantastic. I’m so excited to be on the Telemundo float and to share this experience with everyone,” parade attendee Stephanie Del Valle said.
The Puerto Rican festival will continue through tomorrow with live music and food.