09 Mar

Preparations underway for Calle Ocho

(WSVN | Channel 7) One South Florida community is getting ready to party for the biggest block party of the year. Calle Ocho is a South Florida tradition that turns Southwest Eighth Street in Little Havana into the biggest block party. “I’ve been coming here my whole life. It’s just good: the atmosphere, people party, people drink,” said Roni Figueroa.

The street party is a combination of the two-week Carnaval Miami festival that has been bringing the beat to Little Havana for 30 years and draws an estimated 1 million people to the 17-block stretch. “This festival started off in 1978 as a gathering, a Cuban exile community, which what Miami really was in the seventies,” said Kiwanis of Little Havana’s Henry Jimenez. “Now we are a melting pot of multicultural diversity, and we are trying to adapt Calle Ocho to bring everyone from all over the world and to have fun with us here at Calle Ocho.”

This year, besides the variety of foods such as arepas and skewers, there will be 11 stages with acts such as Jencarlos Canela, Pit Bull, Flo-Rida and country group David Ray Band. “I actually came to the first one and the second and the third, and then I come again, and I’ll probably be back this year again,” said Jesus Bello.

Kiwanis hopes to set a world record this year. “So we are actually tying 287 flags from every country in the world to represent that Sunday that we are all one world, and we are doing that with a Guinness ambassador here to certify it and bring in the world record,” said Jimenez.

Kiwanis also takes the opportunity to give back to the community and raise funds for the community service program. “We spend these 10 days organizing these parties, and we spent the rest of the year giving the money back,” said Jimenez.

The festival kicks off this Sunday at 11 a.m. until 7 p.m.

(March 9, 2012)

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