SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A parade full of dancing, singing, and good spirits returning to Springfield after years of virtual celebrations due to the pandemic.

The annual Springfield Puerto Rican Parade has a history of being a live event celebrating all that the Puerto Rican community has to offer. In Springfield alone, approximately 38% of residents identify as Puerto Rican, and the turnout at this year’s parade reflects the strong Puerto Rican presence enriching the city.

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno told 22News that Springfield wouldn’t be the city it is without the wide variety of Puerto Rican contributions.

“The investments they make in opening up businesses, buying new homes, and just again, celebrates the diversity in the beautiful mosaic of the city of Springfield,” Mayor Sarno said.

This parade celebrates the contributions the Puerto Rican community makes beyond the city of Springfield, too.

Another elected official attending the parade, City Councilor Delmarina López, told 22News that this is an event for all of western Massachusetts. As a proud Puerto Rican, Councilor López loves participating in something that brings so many people together to not only recognize but celebrate her culture.

“United, we can accomplish so much more and this parade is just a great showing of that,” Councilor López said. “Chicopee is proud to be here, Holyoke is proud to be here. It’s not just Springfield, it’s all of us. There are some of us now that represent in office. There are some of us that are representing organizations, businesses. It’s just a wonderful way to come together.”