Future of Brentwood's annual Central American Festival in limbo after Town of Islip denies permit request

In a statement to News 12, a Town of Islip spokesperson wrote, “All parties are working together on the logistics needed to support the festival.”

Jon Dowding

Jun 12, 2024, 2:02 AM

Updated 31 days ago

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The future of Brentwood’s annual Central American Festival is in limbo after the Town of Islip denied a request for a permit.
Since 2003, the Central American Parade and Festival has celebrated the independence of several Latin American countries during Hispanic Heritage Month.
"It's a piece of history. It's a piece of their ethnicity," said Suffolk County Legislator Samuel Gonzalez. He represents the area of Long Island which includes Brentwood.
Carlos Reyes has lived in the community for almost 30 years and says he was so excited when the first festival was held.
"We're always waiting for this and expecting to do this with other countries,” he said. “The whole Central American countries, we come together to celebrate together."
For the last decade, the Salvadoran American Chamber Of Commerce, or SALVACOM, organized the parade and festival. Last month, SALVACOM found out their permit for the festival was denied by the Town of Islip. News of the denial came as a shock to SALVACOM members, including Vice President Miguel Bonilla.
"It's very frustrating because it does mean a lot [to the community]," he said.
News 12 obtained a copy of the letter to SALVACOM denying the festival permit. The letter left community members with several questions.
"The letter doesn't give the reasoning. It just denies it,” said Gonzalez.
Reyes and other community organizers had the same question.
"It was so sad,” he said. “The first question was why after 20 years?"
In a statement to News 12, a Town of Islip spokesperson wrote, “All parties are working together on the logistics needed to support the festival.”
"I just hope the Town of Islip will reconsider their decision so we can enjoy some pupusas," said Bonilla.
Community members say they're still hopeful an agreement can be reached with the town in time to hold the festival by Sept. 15.


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