North Miami Mardi Gras 2014 is a go.
For years now, North Miami city officials have bemoaned that the city has no one signature event. That will change next year.
The annual Mardi Gras, a multicultural fete, will tap local artists and headline performers from the Caribbean and Latin America. Organizers expect to draw tens of thousands to the city.
North Miami Mayor Andre Pierre said the revelry will rival Little Havana’s annual Calle Ocho.
“Basically, I think it’s time to move that kind of event into the city of North Miami,” Pierre said.
The Mardi Gras pitch drew big-name political support to North Miami City Hall on Tuesday.
North Miami Beach Mayor George Vallejo offered to partner with North Miami for the event, and a Miami-Dade commissioner advocated for the party.
“I see this quickly becoming an economic engine in the area,” said Dade commissioner Jean Monestime, whose district includes North Miami.
The location for the Mardi Gras is unclear. The city is considering 125th Street or a second option along West Dixie Highway.
To pull off Mardi Gras, North Miami will contract with Ringo Cayard, who will oversee the management of the festival. Cayard years ago was the mastermind behind the annual Greater Miami Mardi Gras, which drew 300,000 people to downtown Miami.
The city will pay Cayard a $120,000 consulting fee. In addition, he stands to make 30 percent off any sponsorship deals he brings into the city.
For its part, North Miami is betting that sponsorships and vendors will make the Mardi Gras a profitable venture. Sponsorship fees will go directly into the city’s coffers.