Answer: The Puerto Rican Festival
Philadelphia's annual Puerto Rican Festival (Festival Puertorriqueño Fildelfia), was held for the first time in 1962. Sponsored by the city's Council of Spanish Speaking Organizations, a not-for-profit private organization, the festival has since grown to include a full week of activities and has been described by one of its officers has "the single most important event for Hispanics living in the Philadelphia region."
The principle activities are the celebration of Puerto Rican Day (the last Sunday of September), a grand parade (Desfile Puertorriqueño), a banquet, and the Miss Puerto Rico-Philadelphia pageant. The festival also includes a Mini-Olympics; cultural offerings such as Latin musical and dance performances; public service awards; and speeches focusing on the goals and needs of Philadelphia's Latinos.
The festival is planned and organized by a committee within the Council of Spanish Organizations which works together with a president for the event who is chosen annually from the Puerto Rican community leadership. Names of past Puerto Rican Week Festival presidents have included Moises Gonzalez (1964), Ramonita Rivera (1978), George Perez (1980), Candelario Lamboy (1983), Mercedez Sanchez (1984), and Honorable Nelson A. Diaz (1988).
Among its other duties, the committee has been responsible for handling the financial aspects of the festival such as fundraising through sales of advertising and solicitation of corporate contributions. Traditionally, the officers have also devoted considerable effort to involving elected officials either as speakers or supporters: festivities have generally included proclamations by the mayor, the governor, and the president of the United States. Through the week-long celebration and related publicity, the festival generates jobs and business opportunities for Puerto Ricans and other Spanish-speaking residents of the Delaware Valley.
HSP has a small collection of records relating to the originally-named Puerto Rican Week Festival (MSS119) that include committee membership list, minutes of committee meetings, agendas, financial records, and correspondence. HSP also holds a larger collection of administrative and financial records from the Council of Spanish Speaking Organizations of Philadelphia (MSS120).