Loco for Ocho

Everything you need to know about living in Miami you can learn in a single visit to the Calle Ocho Festival this Sunday. There are insufferable pedestrian and auto traffic, tempers flaring at the slightest provocation, and a slightly dangerous, overtly sexual, and thoroughly intoxicating fog permeating the air. (We think it is a combination of sweat, weed, pastelitos, and café Cubano.) And all of it is set to a soundtrack that includes reggaeton, salsa, merengue, hip-hop, and bachata, on about 30 stages along SW Eighth Street between Fourth and 27th avenues. Oh, and don’t forget the rain of croquetas, carne asada, arepas, and other goodies waiting to be devoured along the way. Calle Ocho is the best and worst of the Magic City rolled into one made-in-Miami Cuban cigar that is passed around the estimated 1 million revelers who take in the yearly street festival. What the party lacks in style or sophistication, it makes up for in street cred. So drape your home country’s flag on your back and move your hips to the cacophony of sounds that unmistakably let you know you are in the 305.
Sun., March 13, 11 a.m., 2011
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Sebastian del Mármol