There is no bigger street party in Miami than the Calle Ocho Carnival, an event that is the culmination of weeks of special events in the city. An enormous party celebrating Latin culture in Florida, Calle Ocho includes food, music, vendors and more, all in one huge gala that’s held in the streets.
Calle Ocho Carnival Entertainment
If you love the beat of good Latin music, you’ll be drawn to the 30 stages along a 28-block span of Little Havana where you’ll be dancing all day. Just about every style of Latin music is represented here, from merengue to pop music. The sounds of all the Hispanic nations and the Caribbean fill the air as you wander the streets.
Children will be entertained in their own little festival that includes special activities for them to enjoy. The Children’s Festival covers several blocks of the festival and provides everything you need to keep your kids entertained.
Don’t forget to check out the cooking contest and savor some of the incredible Latin flavors, or watch for a new event each year. In 1988, a Guinness world record was earned right here for the world’s longest conga line with over 119,000 people. In 1990, a world-record-breaking 10,000-pound piñata was featured and in 2000, the record was set for the world’s longest cigar.
Events Leading Up to Calle Ocho Carnival
In the days before the actual festival, before the streets are opened to thousands of celebrants, there are a number of carnival events to check out. The Domino Tournament is held a few days before the Calle Ocho Carnival and in 2008 it brought in a record number of players. You may want to consider entering—cash prizes are awarded to the winners!
Carnaval on the Mile , a jazz and art festival that takes place the week before Calle Ocho, features live music, great food, art exhibits and children’s activities. The event, as the name implies, takes up an entire mile.
Staying for Calle Ocho
No matter what other events you attend during Carnaval Miami, Calle Ocho is by far the biggest and one not to be missed. Be sure you book well ahead of time because a party this big will have people scrambling for accommodations. The best homebase for the carnival is a spacious Miami vacation rental, which will give you more room and a lot more for your money.
Don’t forget to wear comfortable shoes and don’t leave home without the sunscreen; it may be March, but in Miami the sun will be shining brightly. The festival itself is free, but you’ll want to carry some cash to pay for food and drinks. There’s plenty to choose from, so be prepared to indulge! It’s a good idea to arrive early if you want to take in the entire festival, and get a copy of the schedule ahead of time so you don’t miss your favorite shows.