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Festival expected to draw thousands

The Puerto Rico Patron Saints Festival in Pinellas Park will feature food, music and exhibits.

Published October 14, 2006

PINELLAS PARK - The Puerto Rico Patron Saints Festival began humbly, drawing only about a thousand visitors to the inaugural event in 2001.

This Sunday, more than 30,000 people are expected to arrive at the England Brothers Band Shell, 5121 80th Ave. N in Pinellas Park for the sixth annual event. The festival, which will honor patron saints for each city in Puerto Rico, was designed to fall on the last day of Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from Sept. 15 to Sunday.

Visitors can expect to find a variety of activities celebrating all Hispanic nations, including arts and crafts and folklore exhibits.

Vendors will carry an assortment of ethnic and international cuisine, and children's amusement rides will run all day.

Live music will continue all day, ranging from the Afro-Carribbean rhythms of the Iya Bakoso Band in the afternoon to the more subtle stylings of Los Universitarios Orchestra in the evening.

"Everybody will have something to enjoy," said Sandra Acevedo, president of the hosting organization.

Festival organizers have provided for free bus transportation from the Ronald P. Forbes Recreation Center at 6401 94th Ave. N to the band shell.

Admission is free, but visitors should expect to pay for food and beverages.

The festival will begin at noon with a parade of Latin American flags and continue until 9 p.m.

[Last modified October 14, 2006, 00:46:13]

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