Puerto Rico commenced celebrations in honor of the 500th anniversary of the founding of its capital city San Juan in September 2021, and they are scheduled to end during the summer of 2022. The San Juan government planned various events as a part of the celebration, including concerts, exhibits, and cultural festivals. San Juan Mayor Miguel Romero (NPP, D) announced these initial events in September 2021, proclaiming that there will be more to come.
The first public event of the celebration started on September 9 with two exhibits about the importance of the anniversary for San Juan that were displayed in the Museum of San Juan. This was followed by many educational and entertaining events, including an Economic Development Forum on September 12, and the San Sebastián Street festival from January 13 to 16. In addition to these events, visitors and residents of San Juan were encouraged to explore the city’s vast history through a new architectural tour which explored the old architecture and history behind it.
As the celebrations came to a close, San Juan planned the final Capital Festival event. This was a cultural festival with an assortment of food and art for attendees to explore. The event not only served as a cultural celebration, but also as an avenue for visitors to come to learn about San Juan, and most importantly, it acted as a grand finale for the 500th-anniversary celebrations. Additionally, Puerto Rico was able to gain a boost in tourism, which their economy relies on. The festival was held from July 22 to 25, with plenty of time for all the prepared attractions. Around 100 sailboats from other countries were present at the festival, bringing visitors as well as diplomats.
At the festival, attendees were able to visit training ships from five different countries, participate in sailing competitions, enjoy art exhibitions, explore artisan markets, taste authentic cuisine, experience live performances, and do much more. Museums were filled with exhibits such as the “City in time, five centuries of artistic representation” which appreciated the urban development of the city. Additionally, the festival partnered with Mastercard to offer visitors a discount on certain restaurants when paying with a Mastercard, allowing the public to support many local restaurants and owners.