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A Taste of Puerto Rico is returning for its seventh year on June 9 and 10 at Stapleton Central Park in Denver. The popular event showcases the music, food and culture of "The Island of Enchantment."

New this year, is a performance by a bomba y plena dance group lead by local dancer Mercy Gonzales, said organizer Alvino Velásquez. Denver bands, including Conjunto Colores, Jazz de Barrio and Los Lunaticos will also entertain the more than 1,000 people who attend the event annually.

"We have grown a great deal and to my surprise there are people coming from as far as New Mexico and the entire state," said Velásquez.

The festival will also host dance competitions featuring salsa, merenque, bachata and reggaeton.

’La Isla del Encanto’.
'La Isla del Encanto'. (AP)

Guests will have a chance to taste traditional Puerto Rican cuisine prepared by vendors. Among some of the popular dishes are: arroz con gandules (rice with pigeon peas), pernil asado (pork shoulder roast) and bacalaitos (cod fritters).

"My favorite part of the festival is to be able to celebrate with many people who come from the same place on Earth and to see the smiles that they bring to this great party," said Velásquez.

Puerto Rico is an archipelago of islands located in the northeastern Caribbean. Spain ceded the territory to the United States in 1898 and is known officially as the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. The island has an autonomous government headed by an elected governor. Both English and Spanish is spoken in the island.


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According to the 2010 Census, more people of Puerto Rican descent live in the mainland United States than on the island. About 4.6 million Puerto Ricans call the mainland U.S. home, compared with 3.7 million who live in Puerto Rico. In Colorado, there are about 23,000 Puerto Ricans.

Read more about the Puerto Rican community in Denver.

A Taste of Puerto Rico Festival

When: June 9 and 10, 10 a.m.
Where: Stapleton Central Park, 9225 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Denver
Information: atasteofpuertoricofestival.com, 303.667.4031