By Angela Barbosa
Photos By Henrique Mano-Luso Americano
It was in 2001 when members of the Sons of Portugal and the Portuguese-American clubs decided to merge both facilities and give birth to what is today “Danbury’s cultural center – the flagship of all local cultural centers,” in the words of Danbury Mayor Mark D. Boughton.
And it is a flagship that has braced many storms in order to set ashore. The construction of the Portuguese Cultural Center (PCC) came to fruition after a 74-year process, merging multiple generations within the substantial Portuguese community in the Greater Danbury area. And to rejoice in that, more than 500 guests gathered on April 16 to celebrate its 15 the anniversary, enjoying traditional Portuguese cuisine, wines and music, while honoring volunteers and members that have donated their time and dedication to keep the center running.
MC and former PCC president Ray Boa introduced dignitaries and the center’s president Jorge Sousa, who recalled the financial challenges the center had endured in past terms and the surplus position it has now, as he is leaving the command after two successful years.
Sousa recognized all the volunteers that made the financial recovery of the club possible. In addition, he presented a plaque to the Union Savings Bank President and CEO Cynthia C. Merkle, for standing by the center and providing assistance in crucial financial times. A second plaque was presented to the PCC’s vice-president, Geraldo Mesquita, for what Sousa called the “Chicken Team,” a group of members that spent every Sunday away from their families to help raise funds for the club by cooking and selling roasted chicken.
Sousa also credited the members of the event committee Ana Paula Rebelo, Ana Cláudia Carvalho, Maria do Céu Bahia, Hilda Barrett, Ana Perdigoto, Nela Pereira, Teresa Ramos and Tina Rodrigues for the great event turnout.
The Consul General of Portugal in NY, Manuela Bairos, was also among other dignitaries in attendance. She congratulated the entire Portuguese community reminding them about “the importance to be Ambassadors of the Portuguese culture in the United States.”
The Portuguese Cultural Center is located at 65 Sand Pit Road. For more information about the facility or upcoming events, please call (203) 748-1278. For complete photo coverage of the gala, visit Henrique Mano-Luso Americano’s Facebook page.