Patchogue’s Latino heritage will be on display this fall as the village hosts its inaugural Hispanic Day parade.
The parade, which has been in planning for several years, will be held at noon on Oct. 2 along Patchogue’s Main Street and will feature a mix of Hispanic parade dancers, cultural food and local businesses.
“What does the Hispanic community bring to the Village of Patchogue?” asked Patchogue trustee Lizbeth Carrillo, one of the event’s organizers. “It's more than just undocumented [immigrants] ... We have beautiful colors. Beautiful culture, and that’s what I would like to share.”
Roughly 30% of Patchogue’s 12,321 residents in 2019 were Latino or Hispanic, according to U.S. census statistics.
And while the village holds an annual Hispanic Heritage Celebration featuring salsa music and dance performances, it has never previously hosted a parade for the Hispanic community. Nearby Brentwood and North Bay Shore, meanwhile, hold a popular Puerto Rican/Hispanic Day parade every summer.
Patchogue Mayor Paul Pontieri said the village — which also hosts the Italian Feast of Saint Liberata every fall and a St. Patrick’s Day parade in the spring — should hold a distinct event for the Hispanic community.
“This doesn’t separate itself in any way from Saint Liberata or St. Patrick’s Day,” Pontieri said of the event. “It is just another celebration of the diversity of the community.”
The parade and its related material will be in both English and Spanish so that all members of the community feel comfortable celebrating, said Carrillo, the first Hispanic woman elected to the village board.
The parade will begin at the corner of Route 112 and Main Street before moving downtown and ending at Railroad Avenue.
The event is co-sponsored by the Greater Patchogue Chamber of Commerce's Cultural Heritage Committee.
"This is something that the Hispanic community, which is so vital to our community, really wanted," said David Kennedy, the chamber’s executive director.
Carrillo said the event has virtually no funding or budget and is currently seeking business sponsors.
The parade comes more than a decade after Ecuadorian immigrant Marcelo Lucero of Patchogue was fatally stabbed in the village on Nov. 8, 2008, during an assault by seven teenagers who had gone out looking to attack Latinos.
The bias crime drew national attention to Suffolk County. The teens, who became known as the “Patchogue 7,” were later sentenced to varying amounts of prison time. The Suffolk County Police Department also entered into an agreement with the U.S. Justice Department to reform the way it handles reports of crimes against Latinos in the wake of the killing.
“The goal is really to unite us as a community,” Carillo, who works part time as a Hispanic community liaison and as an administrative assistant with the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office, said of the parade. “This isn’t just the Village of Patchogue celebrating Hispanic culture. But it’s the whole Village of Patchogue uniting and just enjoying it, just like every other parade.”
IF YOU GO
Patchogue’s inaugural Hispanic Day parade will be held at noon on Oct. 2. It will begin at the corner of Route 112 and Main Street before moving downtown and ending at Railroad Avenue.