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Puerto Rican and Hispanic parade is on for June 7, organizers say

Sergio Argueta, who will serve as the grand

Sergio Argueta, who will serve as the grand marshal of the 49th Annual Brentwood Puerto Rican/Hispanic Day Parade, speaks about the upcoming event during a press conference at Teatro Yerbabruja's Downtown Central Islip Arts Center on Tuesday, April 7, 2015. Credit: Barry Sloan

Puerto Rican and Hispanic Day parade organizers said they're set to go for another year of the cultural celebration on Long Island after several years of financial strain had threatened the event's future.

The 49th annual parade, which showcases the mix of Latin American culture in the region, will start at noon on June 7. More than 60 groups are expected to strut along Fifth Avenue in Brentwood and North Bay Shore.

The celebration will focus on children, who are to join a related dominoes festival and march along the route, said officials with the nonprofit group organizing the parade, Central Islip-based Teatro Experimental Yerbabruja. The buildup to the parade will also include a talk on immigration, officials said.

"It's very important, more than ever, to understand that we need to engage our children," said Margarita Espada, the group's artistic director during a news conference Tuesday. "The only way that we can do that is for them to understand who we are, our culture, our values, so they stay here on Long Island."

The parade draws thousands, but after several difficult years, it was unclear whether it would go on. Adelante of Suffolk County, which had run the parade, failed to secure enough sponsors in 2012. The current organizers saved the parade, but struggled to get grants for last year's event.

This year, the group has received county and state funding of $20,000 through the office of Legis. Monica Martinez (D-Brentwood) and $10,000 from Assemb. Phil Ramos (D-Brentwood), Espada said.

The grand marshal will be Sergio Argueta, a Salvadoran-American community organizer in Nassau County and founder of youth advocacy group S.T.R.O.N.G. Youth.

Argueta, 37, said it's "a privilege" to represent Long Island's growing Latino community as it works to overcome numerous challenges.

"This march is a symbolic march, not only for the Puerto Rican community, but the Latino community" including recent arrivals, Argueta said.

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