Gay8 Festival

Gay8 Festival

Gay8 Festival

Feb 13, 2022

VIP $65

For the Fifth Year in a Row, the Gay8 Festival Takes over Little Havana’s Calle Ocho

Since its inception in 2014 the Gay8 Festival has grown into one of the premier celebrations along Calle Ocho (SW 8th Street). More than 60,000 revelers are expected to pack Miami’s historic Cuban neighborhood, Little Havana, for the festival, which will take place on Sunday, February 16, 2020.

The Gay8 festival is the brainchild of Miami locals Joe Cardona and Damian Pardo, who were having coffee and wondering how to bring the LGBTQ community and its straight allies together along with the amazing vibrant culture that Little Havana has to offer. They wanted to highlight the sounds, the food, the art, and theatre to show that the LGBTQ community is everywhere in every single neighborhood in Miami. With a massive amount of legwork, the first festival in 2014 was a raging success and has continued to grow each year since. “We originally set out to create an event that brought the different South Florida communities together and the results speak for themselves,” said Pardo. “Gay8 Festival is now the undisputed largest Hispanic LQBTQ event in the U.S. This community is important to me because there is so much work to do. There are so many important community issues like climate, homelessness, addiction, education, immigration, transgender rights, etc. with little attention and/or understanding. These issues affect all of us. To the extent that community interest and resources are lacking, we all pay a heavy price.”

The festival is a platform. It’s meant to be a fun-filled day with the purpose of directly or indirectly connecting diverse communities, spurring intellectual curiosity or just creating a safe space to enjoy your day. There are hundreds of events in South Florida - Gay8 Festival was not started to just be another money-making venture for business. It was very intentionally developed to help us learn about each other and spend time together.

The street festival will shut down Calle Ocho between SW 14 Avenue and SW 17 Avenue along what is also known as the Calle Ocho Walk of Fame, where legends like Julio Iglesias and Miami’s own Gloria Estefan are honored. Salsa music will accompany you, forcing you to move your hips or step aside for the couples who will take to the street to show the world how Miami loves to party. If one of the local musical groups playing on the main stage doesn’t get you moving, check the other stages where some of Miami’s hottest DJs will spin EDM and other club mixes which will surely do the trick!

Hundreds of booths are set up along both sides of the street as the smell of delicious treats tempt from all directions. Learn how to roll a Cuban cigar at one of the live demonstrations put on at Little Havana Cigar Factory or one of the many other cigar shops that keep the Cuban tradition alive.

Festival organizers have partnered with some amazing organizations to really connect Miami’s disparate communities with Little Havana. Miami Dade College’s Tower Theatre will partner with the Outshine Film Festival to present LGBTQ themed movies that will show throughout the day and will be free of charge. The Stonewall National Museum and Archives and The American Museum of the Cuban Diaspora will have exhibits and attendees will have the opportunity to take guided tours of Little Havana and learn more about the part it has played for many of Miami’s immigrant communities throughout the years.

The festival is pet and children friendly, there will be a pet zone where your pooch can meet a few new friends while you shop for art from one of the numerous vendors who will be on hand to showcase their creations. Bring a friend and get there early, as parking options will fill up quickly. Check out public transportation options or carpool- the more the merrier!

By: Ian Maloney


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