From the Feria del Barrio 2017 (Courtesy Photo)
From the Feria del Barrio 2017 (Courtesy Photo)

Feria del Barrio: Celebrating Latino art and culture in Philly


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One of the largest and longest-running festivals celebrating Latino culture in Philadelphia is returning for its 34th year.

Taller Puertorriqueño — in partnership with Congreso, HACE and Raíces Culturales Latinoamericanas — will bring Feria del Barrio to the city in September.

The event is presented by a coalition of organizations dedicated to the promotion of arts, culture, education, health and community economic development.

“It’s an opportunity for the community to come together and celebrate Latino culture,” said Julia Rivera, external affairs director at Congreso.

The location, the Golden Center on N. 5th Street, is home to many small Latino businesses in the city, which is another significant aspect of the event.

“We’ll also have artists and vendors and non-profits with resources along 5th Street for that one day,” Rivera said.

Feria del Barrio will provide the opportunity to celebrate and enjoy Latino culture while at the same time supporting other causes and organizations.

Each year at the event, Rivera said, the committees select honorees who have helped serve the community and are considered heroes in one of three areas or fields chosen on an alternation basis: arts and culture, education, and economic development.

With this year's focus being arts and culture, the 2018 honorees will be Suzzette Ortiz and Jose Luis “Tino” Serrano.

Ortiz is an internationally renowned singer, composer and pianist originally from Bayamon, Puerto Rico. She currently serves as the Artistic Director at Artístas y Músicos Latino Americanos (AMLA) in North Philadelphia, where she strives to create social change through music by increasing awareness and appreciation of world cultures. She has also been nominated for four Latin Grammys for her 2014 album, “Déjà Vu.”

Serrano is a Philadelphia salsa legend who has partnered with Feria del Barrio since 1992. He is the founder of “Los Rumberitos de la Cinco,” the children’s percussion workshop at AMLA. He is also a community advocate and has served as a music educator in various schools across North Philadelphia area at nearly every level, including charter schools, elementary schools and high schools. He also creates workshops with the objective of expanding his music worldwide and letting everyone hear the beauty of Latin rhythms.

The big headliner for the event will be Frankie Ruiz, Jr., the son of legendary salsa singer, Frankie Ruiz.

“We’re excited to have him here, and are looking forward to an awesome day,” Rivera said.

Sponsors will also have the chance to play a role and take part in promoting the Latino community in North Philadelphia.

The event is scheduled to take place Sunday, September 23, 2018, from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. between Huntingdon & Somerset Streets.

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