PROVIDENCE - The pride of the Portuguese community was on display last Sunday when the Day of Portugal Parade stepped out in Providence.
At about 12:30 p.m., there was already a small gathering of organizations ready to go. From floats colorfully decorated to classic cars and marching bands to folkloric groups, it was time to celebrate Portuguese ethnicity and show the world what the community is all about.
The ceremonies started at 1:45 p.m. with Pilar Coelho, President of the Day of Portugal Committee 2009, addressing the crowd gathered outside the State House.
"Up to now, the day has been amazing," she said. "The mission of the Day of Portugal is to promote the culture, the language, the history, the tradition. This is the one day throughout the year that the people in the state of Rhode Island can gather in our capital and show everyone that we are here to celebrate as a community, showing everyone that we would like everyone to come meet us."
This year, the Grand Marshall was State Representative Helio Melo.
"The sentiment is great," he said. "I am very humble to have been chosen as Grand Marshall for the celebration of the Day of Portugal. It is a celebration which I always like to partake."
State Senator Daniel da Ponte served as master of ceremonies.
"It is a great day to celebrate Portugal," he said. "It is a great opportunity for our community to show our culture, our language, [and] some of our arts to all the other communities located in Rhode Island to get to know a bit about us. It is time to recognize our Portuguese schools, our organizations - religious and social. It is a grand celebration."
Various elected officials were on hand, as were many of past presidents of the Day of Portugal Committee and this year's Misses of Day of Portugal -Teresa Agonia, Miss Senior; Tatiana Filipa Santos Abrantes, Miss Junior; Juliana Aguiar, Miss Juvenile; and Sabrina Miguel, Mini Miss.
When it was time to step off, the Providence motorized police closed off the streets, block by block. A sea of vibrant colors and sounds followed with the presence of numerous Portuguese organizations established in Rhode Island.
Even famous poet Luíz Vaz de Camões (depicted by a community member) showed up, and, in good form, marched to Kennedy Plaza, receiving applause from the hundreds of people who had gathered along the parade route to applaud what is already a tradition of the Day of Portugal.
The parade culminated at an arraial (street fair) at Kennedy Plaza with plenty of food, musical performances and demonstrations by Azorean craftsmen.
O Jornal, aqui, acedido em 15 de Junho de 2009