The annual Dominican Festival and Parade took place Sunday in Providence. This year marked the 30th anniversary of the event.
Over the last three decades, Rhode Island’s Dominican population has grown to be one of the largest Latino groups in the state. The celebration of Dominican heritage as also grown, from an indoor event in Cranston to a full festival with more than a dozen musical acts and hundreds of people at Roger Williams Park in Providence.
Event organizer Marilyn Cepeda says the festival is an important way to showcase Dominican culture, and the contributions Dominicans and their descendants have made to the Ocean State.
“It’s important for us to preserve the Latino culture,” Cepeda said. “I think it’s important that people who are not Dominican, who are not Latinos can see that we have a lot of things in common.”
Cepeda said she thinks the festival was especially important this year, after a presidential contest that revealed tensions over the role of Latino immigrants in the United States.
“Sometimes you hear people say, ‘Oh they come here and they take, and they take, and they take.’ No, we’re giving back,” Cepeda explained. “We’ve done a lot of extensive work here, and we want people to see that we’re a hard working community, and we can give back in a positive way.”
The festival featured music and dancing through the afternoon.