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Face the Crowd

Visions of Daisy Dukes-clad superchongas with hips so heavy they knock jaws out of whack with each step. A shirtless old man, drink in hand, mambos for a cheering crowd. An over-30 DJ spins for a middle school booty dance contest. Rival factions of gangsters-in-training throw fists in the middle of SW Eighth Street. Unfazed, you stop for an empanada, eat an arepa, order a conch salad, get a steak pincho, shovel in some seafood paella, and wash it down with guarapo or beer.

With wonder in her eyes and a smile on her face, a kid on her dad's shoulders takes it all in. You buy some flags, a whistle, a Panama hat, and two more beers. You're just another body in this family-friendly freak fest known as the Calle Ocho Festival — a crowd of tattoos, bikini tops, bachata, rap, locals, tourists, gawkers, smoke, and cops. Only in Miami. Go!
Sun., March 14, 11 a.m., 2010


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