Three Kings Block Party Celebration Marks End of Christmas Season
by James Coulter
Christmas may be over, but for many people, the holiday season continues until the Feast of the Epiphany on Jan. 6, the day when the Three Wise men were believed to have arrived from their travels to visit the Baby Jesus.
The local Hispanic community will be celebrating this occasion during the Three Kings Block Party Celebration this Saturday at Central Park in Winter Haven. The family-friendly event will include bounce houses, food trucks, local craft and business vendors, and musical entertainment performed by a DJ from Ritmo 99.9 FM, Polk County’s newest Hispanic radio station.The big event of the celebration will be the raffling of donated toys to select children.
The annual celebration is hosted by the Puerto Rican Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, a local non-profit organization with more than 200 members dedicated to helping promote Latino and non-Latino businesses within the local community. Ana Riviera, Chamber President and Founder, started the event when she started the Chamber 15 years ago. As Epiphany falls on her birthday, she wanted to host an event to celebrate both her birthday and the holiday.
“My birthday is on Jan. 6, and I always celebrated with my members and the community by collecting items and toys and things like that and [hosting] outdoor events [like this],” she said. “On that day, we raffle off some of the items we are able to collect, and we also teach those children and people who…are not Hispanic to learn about the traditions that the Hispanic community does throughout the holidays.”
For many people, Christmas is a 12-day-long celebration that starts on Christmas Eve on Dec. 24 and ends on the Feast of Epiphany on Jan. 6. The Three Kings Celebration is not only an opportunity for the local Hispanic community to celebrate the occasion, but also share their traditions with other people.
“We want to teach the importance of the magic of the Magi,” Riviera said. “It is a way to teach children that is not Hispanic about the three wise men and why they are coming to bring gifts to the baby Jesus.”
The Puerto Rican Hispanic Chamber of Commerce will be hosting other events in the coming months, including the Women’s International Summit and Job Fair in March, and the Inagural Winter Haven Hispanic Festival in October. The entire community is invited to these events to share within the rich cultural heritage and traditions of the local Hispanic community.
“If they have nothing to do, and they are not tired from the holiday party, this is a great community event…it is an event for the entire family,” she said.
The Three Kings Block Party Celebration will be hosted Sat., Jan. 8 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Central Park in Downtown Winter Haven. For more information, visit the Puerto Rican/Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Polk County website: http://www.prhccpc.com/