The Calle Ocho Festival is a one-day fiesta that takes place in the Little Havana neighborhood in Miami, Florida. Calle Ocho is the world’s largest Latin music festival the nation. Dive into this surprising music festival, strolling around 20 blocks of Little Havana filled with musical stages, international food, sampling sites, folkloric dances, and entertainment for all holistic demographics: families, couples, and friends.
For an energizing day immersed in Greater Miami and Miami Beach Latin soul, nothing tops Calle Ocho Music Festival. The annual street party is one of the largest celebrations of its kind in the US ― and for over 40 years, it has become a landmark event for residents and visitors to the city. But it's far more than a day of concerts: Calle Ocho is a part of Carnival Miami, a huge celebration of food, art, dance, and Latin culture.
How it is goingThe streets are jammed with Latin music, performers, and foods from all over the world and the people who love them. The festival is family-friendly, with a full 4 block area designed for children. They will see their favorite sports teams and enjoy watching magicians and clowns perform their acts.
The entire neighborhood is filled with wandering street musicians, dancers, and other performers. There are also hundreds of food booths lining the streets that serve just about every Latin dish you can imagine. There are many stages all along Calle Ocho (SW 8th St) with some of the world's most famous Latin entertainers performing. You will hear merengue, tango, salsa, reggae, and the other Caribbean and South American musical sounds.
Kings or Queens of the festival in the past have included Gloria Estefan, Desi Arnaz, Willy Chirino, Arturo Sandoval, and many other recording and performing stars. Many other events take place during the carnival period leading up to the block party.
One of the best-attended events is the Baptist Health Domino Tournament which takes a couple of days. Domino competition is a tradition among the residents of Little Havana. The games are played in Domino Park at the corner of SW 8th Street and SE 15th Avenue. The formal name of this park is "Maximo Gomez Park". It is one of the principal gathering spots in Little Havana.
Maximo Gomez was a Cuban hero who fought in the revolution against the Spanish that resulted in Cuban independence. During the days and early evenings, the park is jammed with old men and other neighborhood people playing dominoes. Fun fact: The Calle Ocho festival is in the Guinness World Record book for the longest conga line in the world (119,986 people).
Tips for enjoying Calle Ocho Music FestivalCalle Ocho is a party first and foremost. And although it's largely family-friendly, it's still energetic and sometimes wild, so go with an open mind. Even if the weather is cool, it gets hot outside, so dress in airy and comfortable clothes. Be sure to drink plenty of water (bring your own). And respect everyone around you. Since the event is free, it can get crowded and a little courtesy goes a long way. There are places to eat and drink Calle Ocho.
If you want to try it all, order small items from different stalls so you don't overeat. As for listening to all the music, it is important to note that several performers are performing at the same time, and it can take some time to move from stage to stage due to the crowd. So, plan which artists you most want to see and prioritize.
How to get to Calle Ocho Music FestivalThe festival spans a long stretch of Calle Ocho, running from Brickell west through Little Havana. Driving can be challenging, especially at the end of the day, as the street is closed off and traffic clogs the parallel streets. In case you decide to brave the gridlock street, parking can be found in Little Havana, both at the curb and on the lawns of enterprising locals ― for a fee, of course.
Calle Ocho Music Festival is a free street festival, making it accessible for everyone.
Other events related to Calle Ocho Music Festival
While Calle Ocho is the main draw, Carnaval Miami is a multi-week celebration with several other exciting events.
Miss Miami Carnival will be crowned on February 25 at the Manuel Artime Theatre. The winner receives scholarships, participates in the Miss Florida USA pageant, and also acts as an ambassador and icon of the festival throughout the year. Tickets will be available online.Carnival on the Mile takes Miracle Mile to Coral Gables March 5-6. This quieter, subdued carnival is a showcase for local artists and artisans, with live music and plenty of food.
Little Havana Landmark Domino Park will host a week-long domino tournament from March 7 to 13.
The 40th Annual Golf Classic kicks off with a scrum at noon on March 10th. The fun takes place at the Melreese Golf Course next to Miami International Airport.
More information about current dates, times, and events at Calle Ocho Festival.
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