Written by Mineola American Staff Wednesday, 21 May 2014 00:00
For the first time, the Long Island Portuguese community will have a parade in Mineola. On Sunday, June 8, more than 50 groups will ride on colorful floats and display their Portuguese pride. Long Island is home to almost 20,000 residents who are Portuguese or of Portuguese descent.
“This is a great way to unite the community and I am proud to be a part of its inception,” said Manuel Rodrigues, president of the Portuguese Heritage Society–Lusitano.
The Day of Portugal, Camoes and the Communities, is a holiday celebrating the history and heritage of the Portuguese people throughout the world. One child representing each organization will walk alongside special guest Dr. Jose Cesario, the Portuguese secretary of state for
Portuguese communities abroad and a list of Honorary Marshalls that include Portuguese-Americans New York State Senator Jack Martins and Mineola Deputy Mayor Paul Pereira.
“The Portuguese-American community has a rich history and tradition which has helped make Long Island the place it is today,” Martins said. “It’s wonderful to have these events which celebrate our heritage and culture, especially with the parade taking place in my hometown of Mineola.”
Grand Marshals also include Mineola Mayor Scott Strauss, State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano, County Comptroller George Maragos and Deputy Presiding Officer Richard Nicolello.
“We as a community are committed to giving this one all we have so our children and grandchildren will remember it for many years to come,” Parade Director Rosa Leal said.
The parade will assemble at 10 a.m. on Jackson Avenue (behind Chaminade High School) and start at 11 a.m. in front of the Mineola Portuguese Center. Attendees will march down Jericho Turnpike (which will be renamed “Portugal Boulevard” for the day) to Roslyn Road, head south to Westbury Avenue, turn East to Union Street (1.5 miles long).
The parade will end on Union Street under an arch of two-story American and Portuguese flags draped from the two fire department ladder trucks, and continue towards Hampton Street School. The walk will come to a close on the football field where the bleachers will be used as a viewing stand and a stage set up at the 50-yard line will feature music groups and bands throughout the day.
“Every Portuguese organization has come together to help coordinate this parade,” said Long Island Portuguese American Leadership Conference President Gabriel Marques. “We as a whole are very excited and thankful to the Village of Mineola for the opportunity to participate in this history-making event.”
More than one dozen floats representing monuments and regions of Portugal will glide down Jericho Turnpike. Among a few of the more notable are a replica of the National Monument to the Discoveries in Lisbon, a replica Caravel boat, a live performer singing the traditional
Fado, another with live animals and a surprise entry by restaurateur Manuel Carvalho of Bairrada Restaurant in Mineola. The parade will include dancing from six folklore groups, over 20 classic cars, dozens of motorcycles, farm equipment and even the local youth soccer academy playing a game as they make their way down the turnpike.
Music will be provided by the marching bands from Chaminade and Mineola high schools and a collection of more than 50 concertina players from around the tri-state area.
Attendees will also enjoy the Portuguese American Feast and Carnival in Wilson Park across the street, with a street fair taking place on Union Street, showcasing a wide variety of Portuguese-owned businesses throughout Long Island.