(Photo: Tara Yarlagadda)

The rain was out in full force this past Sunday, but that didn’t dampen the spirits of performers and Lower East Side residents who came out for a celebration of Puerto Rican heritage. For more than thirty years, the Loisaida Festival has served as an homage to Puerto Rican culture in the Lower East Side and back on the island. This year, the festival’s theme was “Bridging Resurgence: From Sandy to Maria.” According to the Loisaida Festival’s Twitter page, the theme served as “a tribute to the resilience of the Lower East Side, past and present, and in solidarity with the people of Puerto Rico following the devastation of Hurricane Maria.”

The festival featured ecological costumes made of out re-purposed trash, as well as butterflies, which are a common symbol of migration. A lively parade down the Avenue C commercial corridor—also known as Loisaida Avenue—kicked off the festival. It was followed by performances from community youth groups like the Dorill Initiative, as well as Puerto Rican artists like Kinto Zonó and Flaco Navaja & the Razorblades. The Loisaida Festival is sponsored by Loisaida Inc., which is the longest-serving Puerto Rican non-profit in the Lower East Side.