WEPA! The 64th annual National Puerto Rican Day Parade (NPRDP) will be virtual again this year with organizers providing a two-hour television special to air live on June 13, at 12 noon Eastern time, in celebration of the parade, which traditionally heads up 5th Ave. with 75,000 marchers and more than one million spectators.

WABC-TV anchors Joe Torres and David Novarro and Sunny Hostin, co-host of “The View,” will host the 2021 event.

The grand marshal of this year’s parade will be the entire cast of the film “In the Heights.”  The film, coming out this summer, is a screen adaptation of a hit musical by Lin Manuel Miranda and Quiara Alegría Hude. Cast members include Anthony Ramos, Jimmy Smits, Gregory Díaz and Miranda.

The dynamic film, set in the Washington Heights neighborhood of New York City, is a celebration of the Latino community, inspiring viewers to “hold onto their dreams while honoring their roots.”

The New York Puerto Rican Day Parade is the largest Puerto Rican celebration in the United States. This year, it will celebrate the 500th anniversary of San Juan.

San Juan was established in 1521, perhaps the earliest European settlement in America which is still standing. Many of the buildings in Old San Juan are on the National Register of Historic Places or designated World Heritage Sites. The founder of the city was Ponce de León, famous for seeking the Fountain of Youth. He first settled at Caparra in 1508, but determined that San Juan was a more suitable place and moved the capital there in 1521. By 1530 the city had a university, a library, and a hospital.

A resolution to recognize this anniversary has been introduced in Congress. The bill is sponsored by Representatives Jenniffer González Colón (R-PR), Mario Díaz-Balart (R-FL), Carlos Giménez (R-FL), Stephanie Murphy (D-FL), Maria Salazar (R-FL), Darren Soto (D-FL), Ritchie Torres (D-NY), and Nydia Velazquez (D-NY).

Other highlights of the celebration include Puerto Rican poetry and the Puerto Rican Paso Fino, a breed of horse known for its unusual and beautiful gait.

A traditional music and dance style known as “la danza” will also be featured. La danza is a style of ballroom dancing popular in the 19th century. The territory’s official song, “La Borinqueña,” is an example of danza music.

Puerto Rican chef Ventura Vivoni will teach viewers to make his signature dish, arroz chulería. Guests will receive ingredients made in Puerto Rico. This part of the event will be a gala fundraiser.

The National Puerto Rican Day Parade boasts that it is “America’s largest cultural celebration.” The organization has awarded $1,000,000 in scholarships since 2004.

The first New York parade took place in 1958, and the parade has been held continuously on the second Sunday in June ever since. More than 50 other cities also hold similar parades.