Christmas is one of the largest holidays celebrated in America, and perhaps no one celebrates harder than Puerto Ricans — at least according to the people attending a Christmas in July event at the Courtyard by Marriott in Killeen on Sunday.

“In Puerto Rico, Christmas is celebrated from the end of November to the end of January,” Izis Rosario said.

Rosario has been hosting monthly events celebrating Puerto Rican culture at the Courtyard by Marriott in Killeen at 1721 East Central Texas Expressway for the past several months, and she planned on having an extra large event in July.

“I knew that this one was going to have to be big, because when Puerto Ricans celebrate Christmas it is always big,” she said.

And Rosario did go big. With the event taking place in the grand ballroom of the Courtyard by Marriott, more than 100 guests attended the show.

There was salsa dancing on display for visitors to participate in and more than a dozen vendors had their wares for sale.

Many of the vendors had traditional Puerto Rican wares on display.

“My mom has been doing crafts like these at least since I was little,” said Zulcoralis Rodriguez.

Rodriguez was manning a table covered in handcrafted ceramic ornaments and decorations.

“It is traditional in Puerto Rican culture to work with ceramics and clay,” she said. “My mother (Diana C. Aleman) wasn’t able to be here today, but she made all of these herself.”

Rosario also had some support at the event for the musical side of things, as well. Lino Roldan, owner and host of Brisa Tropical Internet Radio based out of Bixby, Oklahoma, was one of the first DJs to play some of Rosario’s original music, and he was hosting the music being played at the Christmas in July event.

“I have been a fan of hers since 2015,” Roldan said. “One day I was on the radio and I got a call from Izis and she said she had a song she’d like me to listen to and maybe play, and I listened to it and really enjoyed it.”

In addition to indoor activities, several food trucks were also at the event.

“Not only are we celebrating Christmas but we are also collecting school supplies for people that are still suffering in Puerto Rico,” Rosario said. “We have several people from Puerto Rico here today, and this is the Christmas they never got because of Hurricane Maria.”

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