KISSIMMEE, Fla. (FOX 35 WOFL) - Hundreds lined the streets of Kissimmee for the city's first Puerto Rican parade through downtown. Jose Colon was one of them. He said he's happy to see Kissimmee embracing Puerto Ricans.
“It's significant,” Colon said, “because Kissimmee has exploded its population in the Puerto Rican community.”
It’s a community that Kissimmee Mayor Jose Alvarez said is growing, especially since Hurricane Maria devastated the island.
“This is the city that holds the largest the largest population of families from Puerto Rico,” Alvarez said, “so I wanted to make sure it was here this year, to make sure the community can come down, enjoy, and feel right at home.”
Puerto Rican parades have happened before, but not through the center of downtown. Debra Villanueva was at the parade, she has relatives who are still on the island.
“They're still struggling,” Villanueva said, “but they're coming along little by little.”
Which is why Mayor Alvarez said it's important to support the community. “This was the right moment to have it, hopefully now we can have it as a permanent parade in downtown Kissimmee.”
Fox 35 reporter Matt Trezza visited the parade and livestreamed some of it onto his Facebook page.