The Calle Ocho Festival

The Calle Ocho Festival: A Grand Fiesta!

By Phoebe Renje

Miami’s Biggest Block Party!

On March 12, 2023, Calle Ocho (Eighth Street in Spanish) closed for a day to honor and celebrate Latin culture. The annual Calle Ocho Music Fest occurred in Miami, which houses the largest Cuban population in the United States. The festival was a massive success, with a lineup of talented DJs and artists who added a Latin flavor. Miami-based record producer DJ Magic Mike appeared, spinning Latin-inspired hip-hop and EDM mixes. Guests include Miss Carnaval Aymee Nuviola, a Grammy-winning singer-songwriter, musician, and actress. 

The Calle Ocho Music Festival began in 1979 by Cuban Immigrants to educate South Florida on Cuban culture. It is the largest Latin music festival in the nation, drawing in over one million people annually. The festival celebrates Latin music, culture, and food. Some of the biggest in Latin music have performed at the festival, including Grammy award-winning artists and Miami natives Pitbull and Gloria Estefan. 

Miami-Dade County closed SW 12 to 27 Streets in Little Havana for the festival. But the stages lined Little Havana’s Main Street. In addition to a star-studded lineup, attendees enjoyed delicious food and culture souvenir booths, making it a truly memorable experience. You can’t be in The Heart of Miami without a croqueta or purchasing authentic Cuban rolled cigars! Festival goers tasted many Latin and Caribbean foods, including Cuban, Puerto Rican, Colombian, Uruguayan, and Mexican.

The Kiwanis Club of Little Havana hosted the free event as part of their annual Carnaval Miami, a series of music and cultural events that coincide with the Carnival season (between February and March), celebrating the magic of Miami. 

Miami’s famed 8th Street is known for its role in Cuban-American culture. Famous landmarks on this street include the Versailles Restaurant (“The World’s Most Famous Cuban Restaurant”) and the Calle Ocho Walk of Fame, which celebrates the accomplishments of Cuban celebrities, including musicians Celia Cruz and Willy Chirino—making 8th Street a stellar backdrop for the biggest Block Party in Miami.

The next annual Calle Ocho Music Festival is scheduled for March 10, 2024, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. EST in Little Havana, Miami, Florida.
*Cover photo of the 2023 Calle Ocho Festival, courtesy of Ana Maria Reyes, Promotions Director of Kiwanis Club of Little Havana.

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