CLEVELAND — The Clark Fulton Neighborhood played host to a special festival celebrating Puerto Rican pride on Sunday.
11:20 UPDATE: A U-Haul truck crashed on Seymour and Fulton and hit approximately two or three women after the festival was over. There are no updates as of now on their condition but according to witnesses on the scene the injuries appear to be non-life-threatening. 3News will keep this story updated as more information is released.
Thousands poured into Roberto Clemente Park to take in the sights, sounds and culture of Puerto Rico. Puerto Rican flags were aplenty as families watched a parade take place thoughout the neighborhood.
Even a familiar face to many Cleveland Baseball fans was on hand. Former Cleveland second baseman Carlos Baerga attended the parade and greeted with fans during the festival.
This is the way a parade was meant to be in the neighborhood.
One special individual helped bring this festival back. His name is Manny Velez.
"It's a walk up crowd, you feel like your a part of the community. You see folks leaving their houses."
There are several reasons he wanted to make sure this festival was brought back after taking a hiatus in years past.
One being According to the U.S census in 2019 there are nearly 470 thousand Hispanics in the state of Ohio. With the majority of Puerto Ricans living in Cleveland and greater Cleveland. And here there is a chance for young people to use their knowledge of the culture and language to help build careers for themselves.
Velez worked previously as a Cleveland police officer for 8 years and said of the recruitment opportunities the festival provides, "As far as anything related public safety there is a huge effort for recruitment and I think most places are understaffed. We want folks to know there is certainly an opportunity and we want folks to sign up and land a career."
Understaffed with so many opening. Velez has worked hard on this event getting people interested in the culture.
Puerto Rico is more than the island that invented the Pina Colada. It's people are hard working and there are jobs there. This festival is testament to that as Cleveland celebrates the culture of Puerto Rico!