Puerto Rico Festival goes on despite past issues, includes new elements

CHICAGO — Despite the rain, thousands of people lined the streets of Humboldt Park on Saturday for the annual Puerto Rico Festival.

After years of mismanagement of the festival, it almost didn't happen this year. A non-profit organization stepped in and was able to plan the festival in just two months.

Carlos Jimenez, the Executive Director of the festival, took over after allegations of mismanagement of thousands of dollars were brought against the festival's previous organization who were in charge for decades. Previous Attorney General, Lisa Madigan, opened up an investigation into wrong doing. Jimenez said that a lot of sponsors didn't want to return as sponsors this year because of the past issues.

Jimenez and his board found a way to restore people's trust by creating an over site board and by not accepting cash. They even found a way to plan the festival around the missing sponsors.

"We are delivering all our paper work so they see that everything is, you know, on the straight and narrow," Jimenez said.

Now, people can celebrate Puerto Rican culture and one another. Jimenez said they added new elements to the festival such as a book fair, job fair and college fair.

While there was not a parade downtown this year, organizers said they were happy with one around the neighborhood.

The festival will run through Sunday.

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