Hundreds turn out for Dominican celebration

ROCHESTER — As its name denotes, the Dominican Family Day is a big family reunion, organizers said.

The sun shone on the sixth-annual event held Aug. 19 at Brown’s Square Park, which was dotted with families sitting on lawn chairs, pushing babies in strollers and eating at picnic tables. About 1,200 people were in attendance.

In addition to families and friends catching up with each other, the day included a lineup of bands from Rochester and New York City as well as face painting and balloon animals by a group of clowns.

And all around the park, people held or placed the island’s flag around their tables.

"This isn’t a festival, per se," said Edy Marlin, president of the Hermandad Social Cultural Dominicana which organizes the event. "It’s Dominican Family Day … and we want families to take part."

The event is usually planned around Restoration Day on Aug. 16, which is a national holiday in the Dominican Republic to celebrate the nation’s independence. The day also affirms Dominican values of cultural pride, civic involvement and respect for other cultures, Marlin added.

"We are growing," Zoraida Madera noted of the local Dominican population. "And we are happy … that other Hispanic cultures are here today to celebrate with us."

"Unity is our goal," concurred Marlin.

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