ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The 52nd Puerto Rican festival kicks off in Rochester this week. Beginning Thursday, the popular event is taking place over three days at Frontier Field.

News 8’s Ally Peters spoke with Yesenia Ramos-Torres, a board member of the festival, to talk about the decades-long event and how it continues to bring together the community. 

Tell me about this festival for those who might be new to the area?

“This is the longest-running ethnic festival in Monroe County. It’s our 52nd year, it encompasses as much as we can encompass the Puerto Rican culture: food, dance, music,” Ramos-Torres said. “I like to say that it’s a little bit of a family reunion, you get to see a lot of those people you haven’t seen in a few years, especially after coming off of our pandemic. But also, people you went to school with, people you went to high school with, I mean, it’s amazing.”

For the first time in a couple of years, you’re going back to Frontier Field. What other changes can people expect this year after the pandemic?

“One big noticeable difference is that we are kicking off on Thursday, instead of Friday. Our Festival this year is Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Thursday will be a free night. So, no admission, everybody is welcome, and we’re going to have a great lineup that night so I think it’s going to be a really good night,” Ramos-Torres said. 

There are also food trucks this year, which is a change from previous years.

“Yes, another huge change is that we are featuring a lot of Rochester is food trucks, which we have amazing food trucks here in Rochester, so we have a nice array of different types of foods that you can see there, and you’re looking forward to kind of showcasing them a little bit,” Ramos-Torres said. 

Why is this festival so important to our community? 

“It’s one of those things that for me personally, it keeps me tied to my culture, and Puerto Rico in itself. I am not able to travel out there as frequently as I used to,” Ramos-Torres said. “This is kind of like a little bit of home. And we try to make it that way, especially this year, we were really conscious about trying to showcase a lot of the music that encompasses our island, it’s not just salsa, rangy, we have folkloric music that we love, that we want to make sure that our youth are kind of in tune and know what it’s like. We have urban music for the younger teens that like that type of music, so we’re trying to encompass a little bit for everyone.”

Advance tickets for the festival are $10 for Friday and Saturday’s event. Thursday night is free for attendees. You can get tickets at: 

  1. Burgos Income Tax – 1816 N. Clinton Avenue 
  2. El Pilon Criollo – 973 N. Clinton 
  3. Frontier Field – 1 Morrie Silver Way 

You can also be a VIP for the festival for $50, which includes VIP parking, two drinks tickets, VIP seating at the front of the stage and a t-shirt. 

City officials announced a number of street closures to downtown roadways during the festival.

The following will be closed to traffic at 8 a.m. and will re-open after the parade has cleared:

  • Church Street from N. Plymouth Avenue to State Street
  • N. Fitzhugh Street from Allen Street to W. Main Street
  • Allen Street from N. Fitzhugh Street to State Street

The following will be closed to traffic starting at 10:30 a.m. and will re-open after the parade has cleared:

  • W. Main Street from State Street to N. Plymouth Avenue
  • N. Plymouth Avenue from W. Main Street to Morrie Silver Way
  • Morrie Silver Way from N. Plymouth Avenue to Oak Street

For more information on the Puerto Rican Festival, click here.