24th Street Summer Festival celebrates Hispanic culture

Dancing in the streets!

On Saturday, July 26, the sixth annual 24th Street Festival was held in Sunset Park, between Fourth and Fifth Avenues. The party, which began at noon and concluded at 5 p.m., celebrated both Hispanic culture and music.

“It’s been a beautiful day, especially the weather,” said event coordinator Hector Gonzalez. “As you see, the community is really participating and enjoying themselves. The community becomes a family during these days. They meet each other. They know who is who. They know who the children are. The private homes have also been helpful.”

The day also benefited a good cause. Gonzalez, who is also executive entertainment director for Just 3, a non-profit organization dedicated to educating students of all ages in the arts, including dancing, singing and acting, used the festival as a way to give back.

“I do the festival with my own money, then whatever is raised from there, I balance and take the rest and put it in organization,” he said. Gonzalez has coordinated the event all six years.

Assemblymember Felix Ortiz, also in attendance, was pleased to see the neighborhood embracing tradition. “I have been very proud to be helpful and supportive of everything we’re doing here for our people,” he explained. “This is an event for everybody, not just Sunset Park, but Red Hook and Park Slope. We have people even from Bronx.”

Ortiz stressed the significance of the afternoon. “As day progresses we see more and more people coming,” he noted. “It’s about bringing family and children together and making sure we don’t lose sight of our culture and where we came from.”

Vendors were on hand selling food and unique purses, magnets and souvenirs which represented Hispanic culture.

However, the live music was the highlight of the event for most attendees. Several artists took the stage and performed a wide variety of music, such as Salsa and Reggaeton.

Artists included Edwin Vazquez and Salsa artist Hector Tricoche. “I come from Puerto Rico,” said Tricoche. “I’m proud to be here and thankful for the people who did this. This has been a great crowd.”

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