ROCHESTER — About 3,000 people left hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico and came to Rochester.

This weekend they will get a chance to reclaim a small piece of their home at the 49th annual Puerto Rican Festival.

As the tents went up Thursday, so did the excitement and anticipation for some Rochester newcomers like Virgen Lopez.

After weeks without power, struggling to get basic living supplies and dealing with rising prices for everything, Lopez packed her bags and moved to Rochester.

Her daughter is a graduate student at the University of Rochester and encouraged her to come.

"Some things are easier, but starting from scratch is the hard part," said Lopez, now a teacher at the Ibero Early Childhood Services on Clifford Avenue.

It wasn't easy to leave her life and everything she knew in Puerto Rico; however, this weekend she'll get to travel back home without even leaving Rochester.

"I'm very excited about this festival … it's something that will take my mind all the way to PR to remember the things I grew up with," she said. "And it's important to teach the kids about their culture, their music, their food. I'm very excited about the food. I miss that so much."

Orlando Ortiz has spearheaded this festival for the last 14 years. He said not much has changed for the festival this year.

The goal is the same as always — to help people feel at home.

"Forty-nine years ago, that's one of the primary reasons the PR fest got established here," said Ortiz. "In the late ’60s there was a big migration of people moving here from PR. So the founders at that time decided to create a festival to celebrate our culture similar to each town in PR."

The free festival opens at noon Friday and will run through Sunday. The last concert starts at 6 p.m. Sunday.