Festivities began with a flag-raising ceremony at International Park in Union City last Friday, and continued Sunday with a festival on Eighth Street in Union City. Also Sunday, there was a parade from 59th Street in West New York to 32nd Street in Union City, including local bands, sports teams, and dance performers.
"It is a great idea for the Ecuadorian community to be represented in this state," said Vivian Teran, a North Bergen resident.
Twelve local Ecuadorians were recognized during the ceremony for their dedication and contributions to the community. Commissioner Maryuri Martinetti gave out certificates of appreciation.
"We have a big population of Ecuadorians in the area now," said Mayra Verdue, a North Bergen resident who was honored at the Friday's event.
"We are truly honored you made Union City your home," said Union City Mayor Brian Stack.
City officials also spoke about a new park on 43rd Street in Union City that will bear the name of former Ecuadorian President Vicente Rocafuerte.
"I am very proud to be a part of this work," said Commissioner Christopher Irizarry.
Stack also said he is proud that Union City will have a dedicated area representing the Ecuadorian community. Martinetti said that she is glad to have more space for the children and that everyone is welcome at the park.
"We are going to add benches, walkways, flagpoles, and a plaque about Rocafuerte," said Commissioner Lucio Fernández. "It will be open to the public."
Members of the Emerson High School Junior ROTC were also at the event for a presentation of the United States and Ecuadorian flags, and both national anthems were played.
Guest speaker Eddie Garcia told the crowd about the history of Ecuadorian independence.
Queen of the Parade Katty Quiróz and other beauty queens attended the flag-raising ceremony as well as the parade and festival.
Six thousand Ecuadorians
Union City has the third highest population of people of Ecuadorian descent in the state, with more than 4,000, and West New York is home to more than 2,000, according to a 2000 census.
"It is a great idea for the Ecuadorian community to be represented in this state." - Vivian Teran