Festival Betances Ready to Celebrate This Weekend

The Latin flair comes in full view to the South End this weekend, when Festival Betances plays out its annual summer highlights with music, food, a greased pole climbing contest and kids activities in O’Day Park.

IBA CEO Vanessa Calderon-Rosado said the plans are in place to celebrate the annual festival and to mark the 50th year milestone of Villa Victoria’s fight for affordable housing resulting in the formation of IBA.

“This year we are celebrating IBA’s 50th anniversary all year long and that will be reflected in the festival this year,” she said. “We’ve been doing things all year long, and this year for the anniversary we’re excited because we are acknowledging that milestone and kicking it up a little.”

The Festival starts at 1 p.m. on Saturday, July 21, with a parade that will be colorful and will feature neighborhood organizations and a carnival-type atmosphere. They will also be re-creating the movement and protests that gave birth to IBA’s movement for affordable housing, using the old chant, “We will not be moved from Parcel 19!”

The annual domino tournament will take place on the Plaza Betances on Saturday and Sunday, and kids/family activities will take place in O’Day Park this year – including a basketball tournament.

The music on Saturday will be closed out by Giro Lopez, who is a well-known Salsa legend from Puerto Rico.

“He actually started with the boy band Los Chicos, and then branched out and is a well-recognized Salsa singer now.

On Sunday, the famous greased pole contest will take place – something that can’t be seen anywhere else but the South End. The competition features several teams trying to climb a very greasy pole without falling. At the top is a Puerto Rican flag. Few get there, but everyone has fun trying.

Other musicians of note on Sunday include Julio Cesar Sanabria at 5:15 p.m. and Andy Montanez at 6:30 p.m.

The festival closes down at 8 p.m. on Sunday.

“It’s a great celebration and always brings a fun crowd,” said Calderon-Rosado.

For a full agenda of activities, check out ibaboston.org.

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