Plans in place to celebrate Puerto Rican pride in Reading


Berks County's Puerto Rican community is set to come together for the first-of-its-kind party on Penn Street.

La Mega 92.9 FM and the I-LEAD Charter School announced plans Friday for a Puerto Rican Parade and Penn Street Festival.

The festivities will get underway at 11 a.m. Saturday, with the parade stepping off at noon from 11th and Penn streets and continuing to Fifth and Penn, where the festival will take place until 7 p.m.

"It has been 15 years since the Puerto Rican Parade was celebrated in Reading," said Victor Martinez, La Mega's general manager and on-air personality.

Organizers said the event will serve as a celebration of culture in a city where Hispanics and Latinos make up a majority of the population.

"It's a celebration of our food, our music, and customs in this wonderful city that we call home," said Hector Torres, a member of the festival committee and site coordinator for Harcum College in Reading.

In recent years, Reading has become home for hundreds more Puerto Ricans who fled the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria in 2017.

"It's going to be a high energy day," said Angel Figueroa, CEO of the I-LEAD Charter School on Penn Street. "It's a way for the school to contribute to the life of the community. The festival will showcase the beauty and vibrancy of Puerto Rican culture, and we love sharing it with people throughout Reading."

The Reading Downtown Improvement District advised of parking and traffic changes that will be in place for the parade and festival.

Parking along the parade route on Penn Street will be prohibited after midnight. The route will be closed to all traffic at 8 a.m. Saturday.

The 1100 block of Perkiomen Avenue and the 000 blocks of North and South 11th Street will serve as the parade's formation area. Those blocks will be closed to all non-parade traffic at 6 a.m.