Annual Sugar Cane Festival Returns for the Month of August to Bring Connection and Community to the Neighborhoods that Missed it Most

Press Releases

APM celebrates the joy, music and camaraderie rooted in Puerto Rican families for generations

PHILADELPHIA — (Aug. 3, 2021) — Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha’s (APM) Sugar Cane Festival – a beloved summer tradition in North Philadelphia – is back this year. It returns as Sugar Cane Festival Month throughout all of August with a slate of in-person and virtual events celebrating Latino music, culture and community. The festival’s name recognizes the historical significance of the sugar cane crop for generations of Puerto Ricans whose families ventured to Philadelphia to start new lives in the sugar cane trade and to work at the Franklin Sugar Refinery and the National Sugar Refining Company.

Each Wednesday in August from 12 p.m. to 12:30 p.m., there will be virtual events featuring performances along with highlights of the programs that APM offers. Dates, focus areas and entertainment include:

  • August 4: Behavioral Health Services, featuring Los Dominantes
  • August 11: Early Childhood Education, featuring Los Bomberos De La Calle
  • August 18: Community & Economic Development, featuring Blues Junior
  • August 25: Child Protective Services, featuring Johnny Rivera

Then, from 12 to 2 p.m. on the day following each virtual performance, community members are invited to visit APM’s offices to pick up giveaways and sugar cane, visit with staff to learn about programs and to enter a raffle with prizes ranging from $50 to $100.

“We are so proud of our roots and heritage that we wanted to sponsor a party that would be meaningful to the Latino community,” said Nilda Ruiz, President and CEO of APM. “We are mindful of what a difficult year this has been for so many of us that we knew we needed to bring back our beloved Sugar Cane Festival.”

APM has been offering educational, employment, housing and health services to the Philadelphia Latino community for 51 years. Its delayed 50th Anniversary Gala will be in December.

In 1970, a group of Puerto Rican Vietnam War veterans returned home to Philadelphia to see that many basic social services were unavailable to the city’s 60,000 Hispanic residents. They founded the Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha (Association of Puerto Ricans on the Move) in a Germantown Avenue storefront with the goal of bringing vital social services and opportunities to the community. Today, nearly 400 multilingual professionals offer a range of services at 13 sites, transforming neighborhoods in eastern North Philadelphia.

Thanks to its housing program, 114 formerly homeless families have received permanent supportive housing. Through its Early Childhood Education initiatives, APM has placed hundreds of three- and four-year-old children in high-quality preschools and before- and aftercare centers. APM also offers a food buying collaborative, employment counseling and health services, including a weekly walk-up COVID-19 vaccine clinic.

More information, including raffle and giveaway locations, will be announced soon. Events can be viewed at and on APM’s social media pages (@APMForEveryone).

Sugar Cane Festival Month is made possible by PECO, villaNOVA Insurance Partners, TruMark Financial Credit Union, Univision Philadelphia and Temple University Office of Community Relations.


CONTACT: Christina Borst,, 484-678-3972

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