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  • Writer's pictureThe Hammonton Gazette

Celebrating the Puerto Rican Civic Association & its festival

A plaque given to Gazette Publisher Gabriel Donio and The Gazette by the Puerto Rican Civic Association during their festival in 2000.

On August 28, people gathered in front of Hammonton Town Hall as they have for many years. Members of the Puerto Rican community watched the Puerto Rican flag raised on a flagpole in front of town hall. Earlier, they had gathered for a Spanish-language Mass at St. Mary of Mt. Carmel Parish, just down the street. Later, the annual Puerto Rican Festival, held at the Puerto Rican Civic Association (PRCA) Clubhouse on Old Forks Road would have music, food and fun.

The festival will continue from September 2 to September 4 at the PRCA Clubhouse.

The PRCA has been celebrating the culture of the Puerto Rican community for many decades in Hammonton through its festival. It is a tradition that has a long history—this year is the 63rd time it will be held.

There is much for the PRCA to celebrate. Decades ago, when Puerto Ricans came to Hammonton, they were laborers in the fields and factories of the town. As time moved forward, many of the families stayed and became entrenched in the Hammonton community, making their mark in nearly every aspect of the town.

Today, generations later, the Puerto Ricans in Hammonton have seen their children and children’s children advance with degrees from colleges and universities. Others have made their mark in business, civic and religious life locally.

Dedication to family, faith and community is at the center of Puerto Rican life, and that is all reflected in their festival each year in Hammonton. Anyone who has been to the festival cannot help but be moved as the Puerto Rican flag is raised in front of town hall and “La Borinquena,” the official anthem of Puerto Rico, is played.

Anyone who has eaten the food, heard the music or spent some time with the people at the Puerto Rican Festival knows that it is a fun time. If you have never gone, stop by Old Forks Road this coming weekend and experience it for yourself. You’ll be glad you did.

Back in 2000, The Gazette was awarded a plaque by the Puerto Rican Civic Association during the festival. I was honored to receive it then, and I am proud to say that the PRCA was among the first organizations locally to honor The Gazette—we were only three years old at the time. We have never forgotten the honor, and the plaque is displayed proudly on the wall of The Gazette offices.

As part of our lasting commitment to the Puerto Rican community—and the Latino community in its entirety in Hammonton—we remain dedicated to giving its events, including the Puerto Rican Festival, prominent coverage.

In addition, during the last year, we have added a new section called “Noticias” in our newspaper and in our Digital Edition. The section, sponsored by Fiesta Mexicana, is written in Spanish and features translated articles selected from the previous edition, including news, sports and stories about the Latino community.

Hammonton is a diverse community with many different people who have many different voices. It is this newspaper’s duty to cover all of them equally, so that everyone is heard. We wish the Puerto Rican Civic Association success with its 63rd Puerto Rican Festival.

Gabriel J. Donio is the publisher of The Hammonton Gazette.


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