ELIZABETH, NJ – The city’s Portuguese community celebrated their heritage at the Annual Marshal Sashing Ceremony March 23 for the Grand Marshal of the 2017 Portugal Day Parade, which will take place Sunday, June 4.

The celebration, which took place at the Portuguese Instructive Social Club, honored three members of the Portuguese community. Grand Marshal Martinho Pereira, owner of Valenca Restaurant, Adriano Esteves, founder of Sintra Construction who was posthumously honored, and Honorary Marshal Pedro Soaves de Oliveira, Consulate General of Portugal in Newark.

“He is the perfect man for the job,” said Pereira’s daughter Diane Barbosa, an Elizabeth Board of Education commissioner. “He works from the heart, and he has tried to do the best for the community. The community has appreciated all the work he does.”

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He received the sash from last year’s Grand Marshal Maria Carvalho, who said, “I believe it is important to know your past because without knowing your past you will never know where your future is going.”

Tonight’s celebration gathered hundreds of friends, but for some it was a family affair. Manny Grova III, the teenage son of Councilman Grova, was there getting ready to participate in the parade as its prince with Gianny Raimundoz as princess. Mike Silva and Cindy Gomds will reign as king and queen.

“I am honored to represent the Portuguese community in Elizabeth and the state of New Jersey,” said Grova.

The honorees and the Esteves family received commendations from Sen. Raymond Lesniak who remarked, “It is wonderful to see how the Portuguese community has grown to be the heartbeat of the city.”