By Journalist Ms. Jones
NEWBURGH – Recently Safe Harbors hosted their third Salsa Under the Stars. The focus was on raising money for Puerto Rico. It was sponsored by Vinyl King, Healey Brothers Kia, and Zumba Fitness with Maritza.
“We decided to focus on Puerto Rico because of the struggles that they are still having three months after Hurricane Maria hit,” said Maritza Calderon-Caballero.
There was traditional Puerto Rican cuisine, including arroz con gandules and pernil with bread pudding. Tembleque was served for dessert. There was bomba y plena dancing by Las Pleneras de Newburgh, representing the drum music of Puerto Rico and reflecting the African heritage of the island. There were plenty of raffles, with gifts including apparel, jewelry, bottles of coquito, and restaurant gift certificates.
Daniel Villegas blessed the stage with a poem about immigration and a reggaetón song.
“I wanted to be a part of this event because I wanted to help with fundraising [for] Puerto Rico. Even though I am Columbian, I felt the need to partake and share my talents to bring the community closer,” said Villegas who performs in both English and Spanish.
Recording Artist Tanisha Castellanos performed “Let’s Get Loud” by Jennifer Lopez and her song “Thirsty.”
“It was important for me to be a part of this event due to being Puerto Rican myself and all of the proceeds for the event went to the island of Puerto Rico in relief efforts,” said Castellanos.
All proceeds went to benefit the Spread Love for Puerto Rico campaign who works with the Chabad of Puerto Rico that has been giving food, sanitary items, and daily necessities to Puerto Rico for those impacted by Hurricane Maria.
“Joshua Saadi, the founder of the Spread Love Movement, just came back from Puerto Rico where he was distributing items that we collected at various events last month,” said Calderon-Caballero.
The evening concluded with a traditional Asalto Navideño, or Christmas song, performed by St. Patrick’s Church parishioners and members of the community.
Future plans for Salsa Under the Stars are to focus on other Latino countries in order to share the various cultures in Newburgh at their events.