Festival goers share experience from Milwaukee's 10th Puerto Rican Fest
In August, Milwaukee’s 10th annual Puerto Rican Festival took place at Veteran’s Park. The celebration featured live music, dance demonstrations, vendors and more. Attendees at the festival share how the event brought a taste of the island to Milwaukee’s lakefront.
Jim Soto, of Waukesha, said he's been to every Puerto Rican Festival in Milwaukee.
"This is what every community should do," he said. "It's like being in Puerto Rico, and that's where I come from."
Emily Sellona walked the festival grounds with her wife, Brittany, and their three daughters. It was Brittany's first Puerto Rican Fest and Sellona's fourth.
"The last time I went to Puerto Rico I was about seven," said Sellona. "This just brings me closer to my culture and who I am."
Sellona said the music reminded her of her childhood and the music her mom would play. At the festival, Sellona practiced dancing to salsa music for the first time with her daughter.
Antonio Martell said he wanted to dance with his wife at the fest and buy Puerto Rican merchandise from vendors. It was Martell's first Puerto Rican Fest in Milwaukee, but he's been to one of the biggest ones in the country.
"New York Ricans are a unique people because they're really close to the island in culture," Martell said. "When you got like a million Puerto Ricans going down 5th Avenue, it's like nothing you've seen before. It's a really good time. I feel like this right here is smaller, but I feel the pride and I feel the fun that's going to happen here."
Martell said community gatherings like Puerto Rican Fest help to familiarize people with other cultures and "with that familiarization perhaps maybe there will be less animosity towards each other."