Carnaval & Calle Ocho Festival 2015
Carnaval is more than just a single weekend festival at the Calle Ocho Festival. It’s a series of cultural events which also includes a sister festival held on Coral Gables’ Miracle Mile that focuses on Latin Jazz (Carnaval on the Mile), a beauty pageant to crown Miss Carnaval, a Cooking Contest, 10 K run, Golf Classic, soccer tournament and domino tournament. It all takes place between mid-February to mid-March when the weather is perfect for street parties in Miami’s warm winter.
For more than 35 years crowds have been flocking to the main street of Little Havana, Calle Ocho and celebrating Carnaval Miami, a Latin street festival. The street is positively brimming with energy as the sights, sounds and smells of Miami’s Hispanic community line the streets with non-stop music, food and activities and come together with an explosion of culture.
Carnaval Miami is made possible by the Kiwanis Club of Little Havana. The Kiwanis Club was started in 1975 and has grown into a major service organization in Miami that reaches the lives of many under served children each year. Carnaval is a party for a good cause! Some of their recent initiatives include granting internet access to families in need and expanding educational programming.
Carnaval On The Mile
Carnaval On The Mile is a street festival that takes up the entire length of Downtown Coral Gables’ busiest street, Miracle Mile, for a full weekend. There are stages set up and Latin Jazz, Funk, Caribbean rhythms and more bounce through the air. Local performers and internationally famous musicians take the stage to dancing crowds filled with everyone from families to veterans of the party scene.
The event is free, and there is plenty of extra fun to indulge in, including dozens of food stands and artisanal vendors. The event takes place every year on the weekend before the main event, the Calle Ocho Festival.
Carnaval On The Mile is a family friendly ambiance, and is mostly local Coral Gables residents and their families who are regulars at the surrounding mom-and-pop cafes and restaurants, boutiques and book stores. Local restaurants set up shop in booths along the streets and you can get a taste of local favorites from high-end restaurants to Cuban ice cream. Bacardi and Heineken have a presence and it’s all in all a great time for all ages.
Enjoy the beats of the conga, the sounds of Miami’s Caribbean Jazz scene and traditional sounds of Jazz from the likes of world famous saxophone players.
Carnaval On The Mile is widely thought of as a tamer, more family friendly version of the wild party that goes on annually at Calle Ocho Miami, the next weekend.
Calle Ocho Festival in Miami
The Calle Ocho Festival, or Eighth Street Festival, is a yearly tradition that brings together people who want to celebrate Miami’s colorful Latin culture on the streets of Little Havana. The festival is the largest street festival in Miami and takes place along 8th Street from 8th Avenue to SW 27th Avenue. Couples dance salsa on the street, performers and musicians give back to the community with their talents while rocking the 12 stages set up on the streets which are closed down for the event. Miami’s Latin community comes out loud and proud, waving flags of their country’s and wearing other patriotic garb. Listen to the beats of merengue, reggeaton, bachata, balada, hip hop, rap, jazz and more all in one day!
Like any good street fair, one of the main attractions is the food. Get a taste of the cultures of Latin America and the Caribbean and taste delicacies and home cooked specialties. There are demonstrations of traditional dance and stands selling folkloric artwork throughout the festival.
Source and images credits: miamiandbeaches.com, blogspot.com, gstatic.com, latinbusinesstoday.com, corbisimages.com