Weekend Sunny Hot in the 90 degrees.  50th anniversary celebration of the Puerto Rican Day Parade Sunday along Fifth Ave.
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Back to roots for 51st Boricua Parade

After glitzy half-century celebration, it's back to roots for Boricua Parade

After last year’s mighty, star-studded 50th Puerto Rican Day Parade, how could organizers possibly throw an even bigger fiesta this Sunday?

Easy answer: Who cares?

“We won’t be able to compare it to the 50th anniversary celebration,” says one of the parade leaders, María Román. “But no one should doubt that it will be a tremendous, spectacular parade.”

President of the parade Madelyn Lugo says that as initial arrangements were being made, “we thought that this year the parade was going to be smaller.”

However, a colossal crowd can always be expected and, though Ricky Martin, J.Lo and Marc Anthony are not expected to show up, there will be no shortage of stars at the annual display of Boricua pride along Fifth Ave.

One of the city’s biggest media personalities, brash radio talk-show host Luis Jiménez, is certain to be an attraction as the parade’s national padrino, or godfather.

From salseros Eddie Palmieri and Frankie Negrón to rhyme busters Fat Joe, Don Omar and Wisín & Yandel, there will be plenty of music to please everyone.

Grand Marshal Dennis Rivera, vice president of the powerful Service Employees International Union, says he’s especially proud of being the first labor leader ever to be honored by the parade.

“The Puerto Rican community has been a hardworking community” throughout generations in the U.S., and his inclusion recognizes that fact, says Rivera.

In the spirit of Caribbean brotherhood, non-Puerto Rican performers will also be honored, including the bachata duo Xtreme, as well as Cuban sonero Willie Chirino and Dominican pop singer Kat de Luna.

The parade marks the beginning of “a beautiful season for us Puerto Ricans here in New York,” says trombonist Jimmy Bosch, who will be performing. “The moment when we can celebrate our heritage out under the sun.”

The parade is “like a Broadway musical now, like ‘In the Heights,’” says TV personality Sunshine Logroño, one of the island VIPs who will be honored at this year’s parade.

Other island celebrities from Puerto Rico expected to attend will be actress and talk-show host Alba Nydia Díaz, TV producer Luisito Vigoreaux and lucha libre (wrestling) veteran Carlitos Colón.

Luis Cardinal Aponte Martínez and beloved filmmaker, poet and comedian Jacobo Morales are also expected, says Román.

They were both born in the town of Lajas, to which the parade is dedicated.

In honoring figures such as Morales and Bronx-based composer Mike Amadeo, parade organizers are emphasizing the noncommercial side of the event.

“As an organization, we’re looking to recognize those people who have given a lot to our community,” says Lugo.

Adds Román, “people have made it clear that we should not stop emphasizing the cultural side.”