SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Friday, September 15th is the start of Hispanic Heritage Month.

Hispanic Heritage Month is annually celebrated from September 15 to October 15. Western Massachusetts is home to a large and vibrant Latino community. The holiday celebrates the vast accomplishments and contributions of Hispanic Americans from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.

“Celebrating our Puerto Rican roots because the majority of folks that are here in Springfield are Puerto Rican but we also love to incorporate all of the other cultures we have. Different folks from Brazil and El Salvador and all other nationalities coming in and marching In the parade representing themselves because we’re just all inclusive,” said Victoria Ann Rodriguez of the Springfield Puerto Rican Parade Committee.

The Puerto Rican Parade in Springfield kicks off on Sunday at 11 a.m. It starts at the corner of Wason Ave. and Main Street then heads down Main Street and ends at Boland Way. This year’s parade is going to be bigger and better than ever before. The parade route spans 2.1 miles through the city center which begins in the north-end neighborhood and culminates downtown.

“It’s important for young people to know these are our roots, we’re here and we’re not going anywhere anytime soon and really just remember where we came from,” said Sasha Viands, Vice Chair of the Springfield Puerto Rican Parade.

Roberto Clemente Day is also celebrated on September 15th. Clemente is a Baseball hall of famer hailing from Puerto Rico.

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