Calle Ocho Festival Going Virtual This Year

Each year, the Calle Ocho Festival brings thousands of people together to celebrate Carnival. Unfortunately, the festival was postponed on March 6 due to the coronavirus—a week before it was scheduled to start. 

After four months of waiting, the Calle Ocho Festival (also called Carnaval Miami) announced that it will make a virtual comeback on Oct. 4 from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month.

Calle Ocho Live will be streamed on the YouTube, Facebook and Twitter pages of Kiwanis of Little Havana Carnaval Miami, the foundation that organizes the festival.

“People are excited because Calle Ocho Live doesn’t just mean we didn’t surrender to the pandemic, but also that we’re going to forge a new and growing path for the Calle Ocho Music Festival when it returns to the streets of Miami,” said Manny Ruiz, who will serve as the event’s executive producer. 

Even though viewers won’t be able to physically dance in the streets or eat their favorite Latin American cuisine at a curbside kiosk, many of the festival’s usual activities will take place online. They will include singing duets, a cooking segment and a drumming competition. 

The carnival will feature about 25 performances, some live and others pre-recorded. While the final list of performers has not been announced, Ruiz confirmed that Venezuelan pop duo Mau y Ricky will make an appearance. 

“Even though the show will dive deep into music across the genres, it will also be part variety-show and that’s important to keep in mind,” Ruiz said. 

Although the virtual festival is free, viewers are encouraged to make donations of $8 or higher during or after the event to the Kiwanis of Little Havana Carnaval Miami Foundation’s youth development programs.

Daymi Perez, a Miami resident who attended the festival many years ago, says she is excited to see what the new virtual format brings. 

“I completely understand why the festival was moved online [and] I am thrilled to hear what the festival is planning to do,” Perez said. “I can’t wait to see how it plays out.”