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South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Trade Show Highlights Puerto Rican Heritage

By Lori Sykes

August 23, 2002
Copyright © 2002 South Florida Sun-Sentinel. All rights reserved.

Tradition and culture will be celebrated at the second annual Puerto Rican Fiestas Patronales and Business to Business Trade Show.

The event, organized by the Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce of Broward County, has been planned for Nov. 14-17 at the Pines Recreation Center, 7400 Pines Blvd., Pembroke Pines.

Puerto Rican food, entertainers and artwork will be featured at the trade show, which also will be a celebration of the 509th anniversary of the discovery of Puerto Rico, said Frank Nieves, the president of the chamber.

"I think it's an event for the family, where business and culture come together," said Nieves, of Hollywood. "It's a traditional trade show like in a convention center -- with some Hispanic spice added, like music, food, arts and crafts and education."

Puerto Ricans comprise Broward's fastest-growing and largest Hispanic group, accounting for more than a fifth of the Hispanics who live in the county. The Puerto Rican population in Broward, which is concentrated heavily in the southern part of the county, nearly doubled in the 1990s to about 55,000, according to 2000 census data.

Hollywood's Puerto Rican population, 7,463, is the largest in the county. But the fastest-growing concentration is in Pembroke Pines, where the community more than quadrupled to 6,887.

According to 2000 census data, 1,632 Puerto Ricans live in Weston, 669 in Dania Beach, 266 in Pembroke Park, 3,285 in Davie, 3,800 in Miramar, 714 in Cooper City and 1,027 in Hallandale Beach.

Last year, Nieves said, 68 exhibitors participated in Fiestas Patronales (Patrons' Festivities) and Business to Business Trade Show. This year, he said, the chamber hopes to have about 80 businesses showcasing their products.

Exhibitors' booths must be reserved by the end of October. A 10-by-10-foot booth is $375 until Aug. 31, and then the cost rises to $500.

"The event is a way of how the chamber can help our businesses to grow and be exposed to the general public," said Nieves, the president and owner of TelDar Telecommunications Solutions Inc.

"Our emphasis is on the Hispanic community, but everyone is invited to rent a booth and enjoy the festivities."

The chamber, which was founded two years ago by Nieves and has about 150 members, also will announce its Small Business of the Year and Puerto Rican Executive of the Year. A committee will select chamber members for both awards. For more information or to reserve a booth, call 954-983-2273.

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