By: Liz Cepeda
Get ready to party at Carnaval Miami, Calle Ocho Festival
The marquee event of Kiwanis Club of Little Havana's Carnaval Miami, the annual Calle Ocho Festival, is the largest street festival in Miami and the largest Hispanic festival in the nation. More than one million people will join in on this internationally renowned block party on March 11, 2018 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. to celebrate Hispanic culture from around the world on Miami's very own historical Calle Ocho.
Taking place along 8th Street, otherwise known as “Calle Ocho,” from 8th Avenue to SW 27th Avenue, you will find 20 blocks along Little Havana filled with 12 stages, international food, dance, fashion, art and musical entertainment. There is something here for everyone to enjoy. As couples dance salsa on the street, performers and musicians light up the 12 stages along Calle Ocho where Miami's energetic Latin community comes out loud and proud, waving their country's flags to the beat of the drums.
You can’t think about Miami without thinking about its music scene. Carnaval Miami, Calle Ocho Festival has been a major artistic platform for some of the biggest Hispanic musicians today with the likes of as Pitbull, Niki Jam and Maluma making their artistic debut here. You never know whom you might see. Listen to the beats of merengue, reggeaton, bachata, balada, hip hop, jazz and more as you stroll Calle Ocho. Carnaval Miami was born as the platform for all forms of art, and Miami’s visitors will relish in this epicenter at the heart of the city’s multicultural character.
Like any good street fair, one of the main attractions at Carnaval Miami is its food. Get a taste of home cooked Latin American and Caribbean staples. From flavorful empanadas to tasty croquetas, you’ll find a true cultural experience with every bite.
Speaking of food, you won’t want to miss out on El Croquetazo at Calle Ocho - the World Championship Croqueta Eating Contest. Move over nasty, shriveled hot dogs. Competitors here answer the question "How many croquetas can a human consume in eight minutes"? Watch amateur, celebrity, and professional eating champions devour as many crispy, fried croquetas as they can for a chance to win cash prices.
Calle Ocho is also the official host of the Cuban Sandwich Smackdown competition. Chefs from Miami and every corner of the world will compete with their best take on the traditional Cuban sandwich. Don't expect these to be like any other Cuban sandwiches though, as these professional chefs will pull out all the stops to take home the title of Best Cuban Sandwich. VIP ticket holders will also have access to a private area to taste the contest entries, schmooze and take pictures with the judges.
Party & Shop
Expect to sample more than Latin American food at the Carnaval Miami, Calle Ocho Festival. There will also be demonstrations of traditional dance and other heritage experiences as well as stands selling folkloric artwork and other items of interest throughout the festival. Insider’s tip: Comfy shoes are a must as you will be on your feet partying and cruising the crowds all day long.
Carnival Miami Calle Ocho Festival is made possible by the Kiwanis Club of Little Havana. Carnaval is a party with a good cause. Today, the economic and community impact of Carnaval Miami is priceless. Carnaval Miami funds projects that change children’s lives, from Internet access to sports leagues and summer camps, school supplies and college scholarships. The Kiwanis Club of Little Havana helps Miami’s community during many unforeseeable family situations.
Plan ahead and buy your tickets before they sell out. If you want to treat yourself to a stress-free experience during Carnaval Miami, splurge on the $100 Calle Ocho VIP Access Ticket which gives you benefits you won’t want to miss:
- A reserved parking garage at 701 SW 27th Avenue, free transportation and privileged areas with open bar and food.
- Cuban Sandwich Smackdown VIP Lounge where celebrity judges will elect the best Cuban Sandwich in town.
- El Croquetazo Backstage with limited access for contestants, judges and VIP Access Pass holders.
- Ball & Chain Calle Ocho Bash for live painting by Atomik.
- Miami Sounds of the 80's Backstage.
- Rooftop Champagne Lounge at the top of 27th Avenue, offering a view of all the Calle Ocho action.