A Street Party Named Calle Ocho

The festival brings the music and flavors of Latin America to Little Havana this Sunday

Calle Ocho concludes a week filled with street celebrations such as Mardi Gras in New Orleans and Carnaval in Brazil. For a chance to get your “street party groove on” right here in Miami, head to Little Havana this Sunday, March 9, to enjoy Latin music, food, costumes, a parade and a domino tournament.

This year’s Calle Ocho will bring together folkloric groups from Costa Rica, Mexico, Peru, Venezuela, Bolivia, Colombia, the Dominican Republic and Brazil parading down Southwest 8th Street from Southwest 27th Avenue to Southwest 13th Court. Over 200 dancers dressed in colorful costumes will perform to the music of their native countries, welcoming all nationalities in celebration of Calle Ocho’s 37th anniversary.

The fun starts at 10 a.m. sharp. Organizers recommend you “arrive early, wear comfortable shoes, light clothing, sunscreen, forget the diet and come ready to party at one the world’s largest street parties!” Should you arrive on “Cuban time,” fret not, as the party goes until 7 p.m.

The president of the Kiwanis Club of Little Havana, Antonio “Tony” Lorenzo, shared the following: “Calle Ocho is open for the enjoyment of everyone; it is a cultural day of friendship, where people of all colors and nationalities meet to dance, eat and party in the true spirit of South Florida. Best of all, Calle Ocho is the fundraiser that allows the Kiwanis Club of Little Havana to sponsor year-round projects of great impact to the underprivileged youth of our community.”

“Calle Ocho is an experience, come and enjoy," Lorenzo added.

A few highlights of that experience include the Family Zone at the Winn-Dixie pavilion on Southwest 25th Avenue, which will have exhibits, product demonstrations and sampling, gifts and family activities; the McDonald’s Fiesta Tour on Southwest 21st Avenue; and Domino Park, which will feature one of the most exciting domino tournaments in South Florida, wherein players from Tampa, Orlando and other cities in Florida will compete to win cash prizes.

Also unique to this year’s Calle Ocho, much to the delight of salsa music fans, will be a tribute to Celia Cruz, widely considered the “Queen of Salsa.”

Beginning promptly at 2 p.m., from Southwest 22nd Avenue (a.k.a. Celia Cruz Way), a procession carrying a 14-foot sculpture of Cruz will be paraded through the streets of Calle Ocho. Her famous song “La Vida es un Carnaval” ("Life is a Carnival") will play throughout the procession. In addition, numerous musical stages will be set up showcasing the music of Latin artists such as the King of Calle Ocho 2014, Daddy Yankee, as well as Albita, Johnny Ventura, Frankie Negron and bands such as Suenalo and the Celia Cruz All Stars, to name a few.

You can also expect block after block filled with food kiosks to satisfy every taste bud. For more information and for a full schedule of performances and activities, visit www.carnavalmiami.com or call 305-644-8888.

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