It’s that time of the year where locals can indulge on the sights and sounds of Calle Ocho, a massive street festival where everything Latin is celebrated with good food, good music and many surprises for those seeking something a little out of the ordinary on a Miami Sunday afternoon.
The usual guidelines apply to having fun at the event. Leave the dressy shirts and heels behind, sport flip-flops and sneakers and make sure to wear comfortable clothing and slather on the sunscreen. And this year, get ready to line dance, when Calle Ocho brings locals their first ever country music stage to 12th Avenue, thanks to Kiss 99.9 FM, presenting performances by Amber Leigh, David Ray and Lo Cash Cowboys.
Another highlight is the food, said Sylvia C. Vieta, director of promotions and community relations for Kiwanis Club of Little Havana. More than 300 vendors will be offering ethnic bites such as gyros, pork, chili and even sushi, from Red Koi in Coral Gables.
In 2009, Calle Ocho broke the record for recycling, when Coca Cola and Kiwanis Club of Little Havana joined efforts to create a recycling initative and generate greater awareness among Hispanics. This year is no different, as Calle Ocho will provide 200 Coca Cola recycling bins along the street for aluminum and plastic beverage bottles.
Looking to go to the festival? Here’s a look at some of the best music and best bites, as well as some event highlights, to look forward to.
Calle Ocho – The Music
The music doesn’t stop at Calle Ocho. Here’s a look at a few of the top stages and where to find them.
12th Avenue: Kiss Country 99.9 FM urges attendees to line dance for the first time ever in Calle Ocho with the country sounds of David Ray, Amber Leigh and LoCash Cowboys.
13th Avenue: Lace up those sneakers and get ready to shake it at the 8th Street Latin Funk Stage, presenting rock by Locos Por Juana, Suenalo and the funky sounds of DJ Le Spam and the Spam All Stars.
17th Avenue: Hip Hop and R&B rule at the Power 96 stage with performances by Jay Sean, Mr. Vegas, New Boyz and Trina amongst other soulful beats.
10th Street Road (22nd Avenue): The Telemundo-51 stage presents an array of sounds with performances by Four Elements, Pedro Rock, Black Point and Pitbull and Hansell and Raul amongst other Latin faves.
23rd Avenue: The Miami Herald presents the tropical sounds of Conjunto Tropicana, Nikki Kidd, Caro Fernandez and other surprising acts such as the mambo sounds of The Streepers del Mambo.
Calle Ocho- Family Fun
Families are urged to enjoy and spend time together at the following stages featuring kid-friendly entertainment.
22nd Avenue: Coca Cola presents interactive games inside a huge igloo representing the cool refreshment of the cola.
25th Avenue: The Winn Dixie Kids Zone features interactive games, special giveaways and an appearance by Chef Pepin.
Calle Ocho- The Food
Hungry? This year is no stranger to yummy bites.
- Sushi: Red Koi in Coral Gables will feature their signature rolls.
- Pinchos: These “meat on a stick” delights will have attendees happy to nibble.
- Chili: Slowly simmered, this will help you create an outdoor BBQ experience.
- Arepas: The portable corn-based patties are filled with melted cheese.
- Cuban sandwiches: A Miami staple: Cuban bread layered with ham, salami, roasted pork, Swiss cheese, pickles and mustard.
- Gyros: The Greek treat, pita sandwich, makes it to Calle Ocho.
- Hot dogs: The American staple makes an appearance in the festival for those craving simplicity.
- Food trucks: This year, trucks such as Churro Mania and Chef on Wheels will offer their bites at the festival.
- French Fries Heaven: Love French fries? This stop will have you eager to nibble on some.
Calle Ocho – Street Closures
7th, 8th & 9th Streets from 12th Ave. to 27th Ave.
Calle Ocho – From Broward on the TRI-RAIL
Southbound train, exit at Metrorail Transfer Station. Obtain an EASY Ticket from agent and transfer to Metrorail heading Southbound. Exit the Metrorail at the Brickell Station, and walk a few blocks to Calle Ocho. Estimated arrivals at the Tri-Rail Metrorail Station are: 11:33 am., 1:33 pm., 3:33 pm and 5:33 pm. For information, click here. Following the event, take the Northbound Metrorail no later than 7:58 p.m. at the Brickell Station. The last train leaves at 8:37 p.m. Passengers pay a $5 roundtrip fare and students, disabled, etc. is $2.50 roundtrip. For more details and trip planning, call 1-800-TRI-RAIL.