Puerto Rican pride has driven some significant parades and festivals, including the Puerto Rican Festival in AZ. Puerto Rico has an exceptionally rich heritage that lends itself perfectly to celebrations. From music to dancing, traditional food to drink, fun times are abundant while celebrating and learning about the Caribbean country's legacy.


The Puerto Rican Festival in Tempe, Arizona started in 2006 with Freddie Cruz as the owner of the annual celebration and its network. Cruz started working on the celebration in 2006 after noticing that the Arizona community did not have any celebrations of Caribbean heritage. A native of Puerto Rico, Cruz wanted to share the beauty of the country's traditional music, dance and food to all the others in Arizona. With a strong sense of pride, Cruz created the festival that may be one of the lesser known celebrations in AZ, but gets better every year.


Tempe plays host to the Puerto Rican Festival of AZ. The event goes on rain or shine in the Graham Central Station located at 7850 South Priest Drive. Due to the indoor location, inclement weather never slows down the Arizona Puerto Rico Festival. Graham Central Station offers both indoor gathering areas and some areas outdoors for booths and stands to compliment the offerings indoors.


Freddie Cruz works to bring a wide range of Puerto Rican talent to the annual event. Past performers at the festival include Bomba Y Plena with Orgullo Boricua and Johnny Polanco y Su Conjunto La Amistad. DJs that specialize in spinning salsa records have also performed to large crowds of enthusiastic fans. Dance groups perform authentic  dances each year as well. The event caters to families with the addition of face painting, bounce houses, carnival games, pony rides, a petting zoo, and water slides. Traditional food and drink is plentiful.


This annual festival occurs in spring. Specific dates are usually during the month of May, though the dates are not publicized until closer to the event. It is a one-day event, usually beginning around midday and lasting until evening with performances scheduled throughout the day.

Puerto Rico (Festivals of the World)
Amazon Price: $28.50 $19.95 Buy Now
(price as of Aug 9, 2013)
A book for grades 3 through 5 to learn about the various festivals. Includes crafts and recipes. Lots of pictures and written in easy language for kids.
Puerto Rico (True Books: Countries)
Amazon Price: $6.95 $3.11 Buy Now
(price as of Aug 9, 2013)
Geared towards first grade and up readers, this is a more updated book on the celebrations of the country. Learn about politics, schools, and the arts.