SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – It’s a big week for Hispanic culture. Thursday marks the start of Hispanic Heritage Month and the Springfield Puerto Rican parade returns to an in person event this weekend.

The parade will take place this Sunday, September 18th at 11 a.m. and all involved are so glad to be back in person once again.

“We are so excited! Obviously the virtual parade was good to keep the culture alive but we always want to see the community, see the flags, see the smiling faces, and be out on Main Street. So this is, we are super excited, we can’t wait,” said Jade Rivera McFarlin, spokesperson for the parade.

Parade-goers are encouraged to bring a chair, a Puerto Rican flag and get ready to have a great time. The parade kicks off at the corner of Wason and Main Street then heads down Main Street and ends at Boland Way.

After the parade there will be a celebration at the main stage located at Main and Bridge Street. There will be a line up of local artists. State Senator Adam Gomez, who walked in the parade as a child, is now humbled to be this year’s Grand Marshal.

“The Puerto Rican parade is always fun. We try and invite everyone down. This weekend we like to say everyone is Latino, Puerto Rican, please come wave your flags,” said Gomez.

Following the parade, there will be an afterparty at Riverfront Park featuring a performance by Tito Puente Junior.

“It’s a great, great parade. We have a lot of fun, we have a lot of laughs, it’s very colorful, it is very energetic and I am going to be ready to salsa a little bit,” said Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno.

The parade will be emceed by a familiar face, 22News Reporter Melissa Torres! There a few events leading up to Sunday’s parade, including a flag raising this Friday with Senator Gomez at 5:00 p.m. in Memorial Square Park on North Main Street.