ALLENTOWN, Pa. -

Thousands of Puerto Rican residents shared their culture with the Allentown community at the Puerto Rican parade and Festival.

The day began with the raising of the proud Puerto Rican red, white, and blue.
And a proclamation from Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski: "On behalf of all of our citizens do hereby proclaim July 29, 2012, Puerto Rico Cultural Day in Allentown. Viva Puerto Rico!"

Thousands lined Allentown's streets waving their own flags and dancing as as the Puerto Rican Parade passed by.

A procession of community members, music, tricked out cars and smiling beauty queens rounded out the parade.

Even those not in the parade made it into a curbside family affair.

"I am sitting here at the parade having fun with my friends and family," said Chantal Seymour.

When the parade ended, the party at Jordan Park began.

Among the smell of sizzling kebobs and burgers you could see friends and family celebrating their culture.

"This is great for us Puerto Ricans and for all the Latin community because we can gather together and celebrate our roots," said Arlene Zelaya.

Lehigh Valley resident Arlene Zalaya was born and raised in Puerto Rico. She says seeing the strong sense of community at the Puerto Rican festival reminds her of her childhood, and for many here, it warms the heart.

"Today is a beautiful day for seeing so many Puerto Ricans together and share some love and care for everybody," said Guiermo Misonet.

But the festival isn't simply about celebrating one's roots. For some, it's also about sharing them with others.

"It's not all Spanish people here. You got different races, whites, blacks, Chinese, everybody is here so it's just unity is what it is," said Victor Acevedo.