Uphams Corner Summer Festival and Health Fair

J.P. Goodwin

More than 1,000 couples are expected to participate in a salsa dance extravaganza on Saturday, June 22 as part of a day-long series of events organized by the Uphams Corner Festival Committee.

For the last nine years, the Upham’s Corner section of Dorchester has been the site of a health fair and street festival. This year’s celebration of the neighborhood will be held inside the Strand Theatre, on the corner of Columbia Road and Hancock Street; and outdoors on the stretch of Columbia Road between Hancock and Dudley Street, which will be blocked off to traffic.

In addition to the salsa dance – which will be attempting to set a record as the largest salsa dance ever held in Boston – there will be performances by bands, prizes, face-painting, international food stands set up by dozens of local vendors and a health fair.

The Health Fair, which will take place in the Strand Theatre, will run from 10:00am until 1:00pm. This event will feature booths designed to educate neighborhood residents on a number of health concerns, from cervical cancer and skin cancer to injury prevention. The fair will also host on-site health testing for blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol.

The salsa will start at 11:00am inside the Strand when Latino dance instructor Guillermo Rivera-Pagan will give free dance lessons. At 1:00pm Rivera-Pagan will DJ on the Strand stage. The party will move outdoors at 2:00pm when Edwin Pabon will start playing live with his band. A head count will be taken at 3:00pm to see if the record has been broken. Prizes will be awarded for the best adult, youth, and beginner dancers.

Local acts, including Reggae band One Sound International and Groom Street Dance Machine will perform into the evening. The celebration will wind down at 8:00pm when two acts from Cape Verde, Bau Bilmundu and Dudu Aroujo, play the traditional acoustic music from their country.

“The festival will encourage foot traffic and get people to see this neighborhood and all the improvements we’re making,” declared Upham’s Corner Main Street Executive Director Colin Riley. “This is a way for people to get together and share their concerns and share their successes.”