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updated: 8/11/2011 11:31 AM

Elgin Boriqua Fest offers Puerto Rican music, food

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Live music will dominate the packed Boriqua Fest schedule Saturday as performances, dance lessons and a limbo dancing competition ensure the sounds of salsa, merengue, bomba and plena fill Elgin's Festival Park from noon to 11 p.m.

The Puerto Rican Heritage Organization's 19th annual festival will be held for the first time in the park at 136 S. Grove Ave., north of the Grand Victoria Casino.

Organization President Rosemarie Ramos hopes the new location will mean a bigger turnout. The park is more visible than the previous location near the Centre of Elgin on Symphony Way.

Ramos said the festival is meant to reach out to Puerto Ricans in Elgin and across the region, as well as the wider community.

"We want to keep on emphasizing our heritage with them so those who have never gone to Puerto Rico know a little bit about us," Ramos said.

To kick off the festival, Queen of the Miss PRHO Pageant will be crowned. Two contestants are vying for the top spot, which will mean a college scholarship and the chance to represent the Puerto Rican community.

Yessenia Vazquez, 20, is the current queen and responsible for organizing much of this year's pageant. Vazquez said Maria Borrero, 21, and Samantha Arzuaga, 19, will go onstage in a cultural outfit as well as an evening gown before the winner is chosen. The young women already have been interviewed by a panel of judges and written essays for the competition.

Salsa music and a dance lesson at 3 p.m. will give people a warm-up before the evening entertainment. And the limbo dancing competition -- with a $100 prize -- starts at 5 p.m., inviting participants to prove just how low they can go.

Vendors from Elgin and across the region will sell typical Puerto Rican food all day. For details, visit

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