SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – This year marks the triumphant in person return of the Springfield Puerto Rican Parade. The community kicked off the parade festivities Wednesday with the community at a local restaurant.

This year, the parade route will no longer be virtual! People came out to Palate Restaurant in Springfield to celebrate and prepare for this beautiful cultural parade season in September just in time for Hispanic Heritage Month.

Jade Rivera-McFarlin, Spokesperson for the Puerto Rican Parade, said, “It’s about sharing the culture and coming together. That’s really what it’s all about. So whether you’re Puerto Rican or not, come out have something to eat, enjoy the music and enjoy the culture.”

It’s back and better than ever! This year is the 32nd Annual Springfield Puerto Rican Parade. A day to celebrate the resilience efforts and accomplishments of the LatinX community in Springfield.

Jade Rivera-McFarlin added, “I mean going virtual was nice. Keeping the culture alive, that was the real goal of it but parade day is an out of body experience. The flags, whether you’re Puerto Rican or not, you are on that day and it’s just so much fun to have our culture in front of everyone to display everything we do and all of the accomplishments of our community.”

This year, the parade will take place on September 18th in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month to show solidarity with the rest of Latin America.

Wednesday’s event announced this year’s parade honorees, the theme and this year’s Grand Marshall, State Senator Adam Gomez.

State Senator Adam Gomez of Springfield told 22News, “Growing up working on the Puerto Rican parade with my father when he founded it to now coming off of the parade and now being honored after my five years that I spent on it is completely humbling.”

The parade kicks off on September 18th at 11a.m. on Main Street in Springfield and ends on Boland Way.