• Sean Friel

Puerto Rican Festival begins

Continues at PRCA

Clubhouse this weekend


The Puerto Rican Civic Association held its annual flag raising ceremony at town hall on August 28. Local, state and county officials joined the event. (THG/Sean Friel. To purchase photos in The Gazette, call (609) 704-1940.)

HAMMONTON—On Sunday, August 28, the Puerto Rican Civic Association (PRCA) of Hammonton kicked off its festival of 2022 by holding a flag raising at Hammonton Town Hall.


A Mass was held at St. Mary of Mt. Carmel Parish – St. Joseph’s Church, which then led to a procession to town hall, with many Jeep vehicles in a line. The Jeep vehicles were sporting Puerto Rican flags, different lights and even some sirens. Music could be heard coming from the Jeeps, along with the sirens, all the way to town hall. The flag raising ceremony took place at 1:45 p.m. with town officials coming out to show their support. Eighth District Assemblymen Michael Torrissi and Brandon Umba, Atlantic County Clerk Joseph Giralo, Hammonton Police Chief Kevin Friel, Councilmen Thomas Gribbin and Councilmen Sam Rodio and Bill Olivo were in attendance.


The flag raising ceremony started off with a welcome and a prayer from the Rev. David Rivera, who spoke in Spanish before translating into English.


“Heavenly Father, we gather today to glorify your name, in the name of your son Jesus, over own town, over the Puerto Rican people and the Latin people of this town, as we get this wonderful time of celebration. We ask you to watch over them in your great love and mercy, over the organizers of the events, and especially over the leaders of this town and our area. May them choose servants of the people, watch over them and strengthen them,” Rivera said.

After Rivera had finished his prayer, PRCA President Edwin Negroni said a few words to the people in attendance.


“Once again, we are handed the official document, which is called in Spanish, La proclamación, the proclamation that allows us to raise our flag and recognize the Puerto Rican community in this wonderful town of Hammonton. We are marking our 63rd anniversary of such celebration, which would not be possible without the acknowledgment of our first Puerto Rican community leaders that in the year 1959, assembled and started this as today,” Negroni said.


He continued, explaining that with proper education and character, they can assemble with respect and bring great services to the town of Hammonton. Negroni invited the entirety of the town of Hammonton to celebrate in the festival this year, and thanked them for coming to the flag raising ceremony.


The flag was hoisted onto the flagpole, and the national anthem was sung along with the national anthem of Puerto Rico. The crowd listening sang along to the national anthem of Puerto Rico, and watched as the flag was flown high at town hall.


After the flag raising, Gribbin was given some time to speak to the crowd.


“It’s my honor to be here with you today and on behalf of mayor and council, thank you and thank the Puerto Rican community for all that you give, and all that you provide to the rich fabric of this beautiful Hammonton community,” Gribbin said.


He continued, explaining the proclamation that the mayor and town council had provided.


“With that, I would like to read this proclamation on behalf of the mayor and the town of Hammonton. Whereas the Puerto Rican Civic Association has and continues to promote the town of Hammonton with their Puerto Rican Festival, and whereas the Puerto Rican Civic Association celebrates its 63rd anniversary this year, and whereas the Puerto Rican Civic Association has and continues to promote cultural and community awareness in Hammonton and has a deep and rich connection,” Gribbin said.


He said that the festival would be held from August 28, to September 4 in Hammonton, and declared the week Puerto Rican Week in the town of Hammonton.


Negroni addressed the crowd again, congratulating them on the accomplishment.


“Thank you again, and congratulations to the Puerto Ricans again for demonstrating that we united, with respect, we can go and celebrate our tradition,” Negroni said.


Negroni once again invited everyone from town to attend the event at the PRCA Clubhouse on Old Forks Road, where the festival will take place. Food, music and great companionship were a few incentives that Negroni recognized, and encouraged even the councilmembers to join. Negroni said he was happy to be starting the festival, and to give the Puerto Rican community the event they deserved.


The Jeeps lined up at town hall and proceeded to head out towards Old Folks Road, where they would be met with a cultural event that has long been celebrated in the town of Hammonton.


On Friday, September 2 from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. the celebration continues at the clubhouse, 367 Old Forks Road. Enjoy DJ Teudy Ramirez, live music by Trio Renacer and typical Latino cuisine.


On Saturday, September 3 and Sunday, September 4 from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. on both days, enjoy DJ Teudy Ramirez both days, live music September 3 by Javy Swing De Guille Oficial Javy Swing D Guille and live music September 3 by Inolvidables and typical Latino cuisine.


Other nonprofits will be onsite to help and aid those in attendence.


For more information on the PRCA, head to their Facebook page, where events and information on the group are posted.