After a 2 year hiatus due to Covid-19, the 65th Annual San Juan Bautista Parade and Concert proceeded without missing a beat. The last event took place in June of 2019 and, after the time off, they’re back providing some of the best entertainment and cultural encounters Camden has to offer.
The experiences of the event are hard to describe. The festivities typically slowly start the day prior. If you’re in the city, you’ll slowly see more and more cars draped with Puerto Rico’s Flag. Depending on where you are and what you are doing, you may also see large gatherings laughing, celebrating early, in anticipation of the official event..
Once Saturday hits, you can expect to see, hear and experience Puerto Rican culture, in all of its glamor. Clothing, music, flags, caravans, unity, food, and much more on full display throughout the city. I can say the day is uniquely devoted to Boricuas and the love and respect they have in Camden.
The Waterfront’s events start with a parade leaving 7th and Elm Street in North Camden and ending at the Waterfront. From there, you can experience the free concert at the stage with live music, dancing and the friendliness of the day. You’ll find the most age-diverse crowd here, some doing the Salsa, some cha cha - ing, others waving flags, our just simply following the rhythm.
The next experience would be at “the top of the hill.” Here you will find something refreshing to drink, authentic cuisine or clothing and memorabilia. The other experience you can enjoy here is the bird’s eye view of the center stage, the river and the Philadelphia skyline. It’s such a great view, unparalleled to other areas of New Jersey waterfronts.
Another experience you can have is the trek to and from 3rd and River Drive, to the actual Waterfront. This walk feels like 5 miles but, if you catch it at the right time, you can meet attendees coming and going, giving you anticipation or satisfaction depending on which way you’re traveling. If you are a regular attendee of any events here, you can see the usual….. The Mickle Tower residents hanging out, enjoying the ambience. You’ll encounter official and “unofficial” vendors. This time, also had tail-gating from concert goers in the adjacent parking lots. What more could you ask for?
At some point, you’ll more than likely encounter all three of the experiences spanning several blocks on 3rd street. You’ll have the music, dancing, vendors, the people….in addition the cars, the car show, the dirtbikes and much more here. Many people never make it up River Drive. They are totally contemptuous here, celebrating the same culture as everyone else. Slightly different experience but, all love and unity. Love Ling Puerto Rico!