After going virtual in 2020, the Feria del Barrio returns to N. Philly
La Feria del Barrio is hosted by other well-known Latin American organizations in the city, including Taller Puertorriqueño, Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha, Congreso de Latinos Unidos and HACE.
Of course, Philadelphians with ties to Latin America and Spanish-speaking countries carry a wide range of traditions, which were fully on display at the festival.
Puerto Rican music was playing at a corner of 5th and Huntingdon streets, while Guatemalan women wove traditional textiles at a table opposite. Next to them, a Mexican family was making chocolate and spices used in the popular dish called mole.
Aida Cruz has sung folk music with the group Raíces Boricuas, which has performed at the Feria almost every year since its inception.
Born and raised in Philly by two Puerto Ricans who immigrated to the city, Cruz has been involved in organizations like Taller Puertorriqueño since the 1970s in an effort to connect with her culture. Cruz said that she returns to the Feria every year to serve as a bridge for the younger generations.
Yet for many organizations with tables set up along the two festival blocks, Sunday was a way to reach people they hadn’t been able to see in person for over a year.
Kaliah Smalls, community outreach coordinator at the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging, said the nonprofit has always relied on in-person events to connect Latin American seniors – who make up about 30% of agency clients – meal programs and legal services.
“The pandemic has definitely put a damper on our PCA awareness efforts… so certainly with this event, we want to make sure that our presence is felt,” Smalls said.