SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Spirits are flying high Thursday night in the city of Springfield, following the kickoff to the highly anticipated 2023 Puerto Rican Parade!

People gathered at the White Lion Brewing Company to introduce the Ambassador Honorees and Grand Marshal of the parade.

This year’s parade theme is “Never Forget Your Roots.” Organizers say its all about honoring the rich cultural heritage of Puerto Rico, highlighting the vibrant fusion of Spanish, and African influences that shape Puerto Rican culture.

“Hopefully our parade provides an opportunity for people to come together and find their own sense of resiliency within this group dynamic,” said Parade Chair, Kelvin Molina-Brantley.

Vice Chair of the Parade, Sasha Viands adds, “And that’s clear tonight, to show support and celebrate our honorees, and our resilience. We are here and we are not going anywhere.”

The parade is scheduled for September 17, and the committee is looking for volunteers.