POMPTON PLAINS, NJ- Nearly 700 members of the Peruvian community and their guests filled the Legacy Castle on Thursday to celebrate the 32nd gala dinner hosted by the Peruvian Parade of Paterson.

The parade, said to be one of the biggest in the state, Kat Esquiche, the gala's chair stated, "started as a six-block parade and now runs through three cities," and starts on Main Street in Passaic at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday. The parade winds its way for more than five miles through Passaic and Clifton before concluding in downtown Paterson, and is followed by the annual Peruvian Festival held on Memorial Drive between Market Street and Broadway.

According to organizers, the parade and festival attracts nearly 8,000 visitors from throughout the state and as far away as Virginia to New Jersey, home to the largest Peruvian population in the nation, and has a major positive impact on the local economy. 

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Among the dignitaries to speak at the gala was Senator Bob Menendez who said that the parade is not only a celebration of the Peruvian independence buy also "a celebration of the contributions of Peruvian Americans to our country."

On Saturday the Peruvian Parade Committee will host a flag raising ceremony at Paterson City Hall beginning at 12:00 p.m.