Also known as “El Festival de la Calle Ocho,” the Calle Ocho Festival is a one day celebration, also popularly known to be the biggest annual street party in the country. Held at the Little Havana, Calle Ocho is known to celebrate Latin culture in all of its many manifestations. From food to music, dance and other performances, this is an occasion to showcase national pride and enjoy the very best that every country represented has to offer. The very fact that more then 1 million people from around the world come to this single-day event stands testimony to the popularity of this festival.
The origins of Calle Ocho Festival can be traced to the year 1978 when Cubans invited the neighborhood to know more about them, and thus Calle Ocho Festival was born. The Little Havana neighborhood, where Calle Ocho is held was formed when Cuban refugees began settling around 8th Street (Calle Ocho) to escape turmoil in their homeland in the 1960s. Today, Little Havana is noted as a center of social, cultural, and political activity in Miami.
Sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Little Havana, in 1988, the festival made a Guinness World Record, as 119,986 people joined in the world’s longest conga line. The festival is characterised by vibrance, colour, pomp, revelry, music and dance. People waving flags of their country and wearing other patriotic garb is a common sight. Twelve stages are set up on the streets where you can listen to the beats of merengue, reggeaton, bachata, balada, hip hop, rap, all in one day! There are demonstrations of traditional dance and stands selling folkloric artwork throughout the festival. In a nutshell, Miami’s Latin community comes out loud and proud on this day.
Like any good street fair, one of the main attractions is the food. There are food kiosks along nearly two miles of Calle Ocho, with many typical Latin flavors, especially Cuban. Get a taste of the Latin American delicacies and home cooked specialties at Calle Ocho in Miami. Sampling of free products has also been a tradition of this festival. There are also stands with children’s toys, boxes of $25 perfume and children’s T-shirts printed with the flags of Latin American countries.
As far as accessing Miami is concerned, visitors should note that Miami is well connected via air to the rest of the world. Tourists have the option of arriving at either Miami International Airport or Fort Lauderdale International Airport.
Location: Held in Domino Park each year in March between 27th Ave and 4th Ave along Southwest 8th Street, that is 23 blocks along “Calle Ocho” in Little Havana with activities for everybody.
As far as the weather in Miami is concerned, the region witnesses subtropical savanna climate with two predominant seasons: a warm and dry season from November through mid April and a hot and wet season from May through October. During March, when the Calle Ocho Festival is organised, Miami has a sunny and dry weather. So no woolens are required to be carried. Though it would only help to carry a sunscreen to prevent your skin from tanning.
To feel like being in another country without leaving the U.S., Calle Ocho festival is your safest bet!