This weekend, ExpoNica, the fair of the Americas, is returning to where it all started.
The festival, which celebrates traditions and cultures of Latin America, will celebrate its 25th anniversary by going back to the Miami-Dade County Fair & Exposition grounds, 10901 SW 24 St., from Nov. 6 through 8.
For the first time, ExpoNica we will welcome Cuban artisans who will travel directly from the island to showcase their crafts. It is an opportunity for all Latin Americans and South Floridians to witness Cuba’s works, festival Executive Director Eduardo Arroyo said.
“They are coming from Cuba and bringing their arts and crafts to share it with our community,” he said. “It’s an opportunity to bring awareness. It’s a chance to learn the culture directly from Cuba.”
Arroyo said the Cubans will bring papier-mâché and other crafts made from cans and wood.
The Cubans will travel from Matanzas, Cienfuegos, Pinar del rio and other provinces.
For the past two years, the festival has been held at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens and Marlins Park. But Arroyo said that after many requests, it made sense to return to the Miami-Dade County Fair and Exposition site near Sweetwater, home to many Nicaraguans and Hispanics.
Arroyo said that showcasing the Cuban artists became possible after the United States and Cuba began reestablishing a relationship.
Aside from the Cubans, other artists from Latin America will also be working on their ceramics in person at the festival. There will be craftsmen and women from Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala and more.
“Let’s support our artisans,” he said. “They come from our countries to better their lives. It’s a good chance to purchase gifts for Christmas.”
There will also be live music from bands including La Nueva Compañia from Nicaragua and others from Honduras, Peru and more.
For food lovers, there will be authentic dishes such as carne asada and gallo pinto from Nicaragua, pupusa from Salvador and arepas from Colombia.
“It’s a family event,” Arroyo said. “You can take your kids to show them our roots.”
If you go
▪ What: ExpoNica
▪ Where: Miami Dade County Youth Fair and Exposition, 10901 SW 24th St.
▪ When: 6 to 11 p.m. Friday, 2 to 11 p.m. Saturday and 1 to 11 p.m. Sunday.
▪ Cost: $16 for adults. Seniors and children 8 and under enter free
For more information: visit www.exponica.org.