Get Ready for the Gay8 Festival, aka Gay Ocho

One of the many great things about Miami is the many festivals that we can have here all year ‘round. Upcoming example: the Gay8 (Gay Ocho) Festival on Sunday February 19, held annually in the heart of Little Havana along the iconic streets of Calle Ocho (Southwest 8th Street).

The Hispanic street fiesta, dedicated to LGBTQ+ art, music, dance, food, and culture, is the largest Hispanic diversity and inclusion festival in the U.S., attracting more than 80,000 visitors.

What to expect

From noon to 8 p.m. between Southwest 14th to 17th avenues, Calle Ocho will be lined with vendors offering specialty foods and drink, Cuban-inspired and LGBTQ+ artwork, and information booths on a variety of Hispanic and queer topics.  

Because the entire street is closed off, there’s plenty of room to dance, and Gay8 will create dance party zones at various places along the street with live performances and DJs. In addition, free cultural programming will include movie screenings at Miami Dade College’s Tower Theater and salsa dancing classes at Ball & Chain bar and lounge, along with drag queen fashion shows and live entertainment.

Photo via Gay8 Festival

VIP ticket benefits

Gay8 is free, but the organizers—4Ward Miami—encourage donations, all of which are tax deductible and will remain in the local community. For those who want to kick it up a notch, VIP tickets will provide special access to the festival’s VIP area, which includes a Bacardi full-service open bar, an assortment of complimentary classic Latin cuisine, and an opportunity to meet performers from the main stage along with community and elected leaders and sponsor of the festival.

VIP pass-holder benefits also include a private, air-conditioned area next to the festival main stage and five drink tickets for no-wait lines on the street.

Take this opportunity to celebrate all the things that make the Hispanic/Latin and LGBTQ+ culture so vibrant!

Photo via Steve Rothaus

Think afterparty

If you’re still ready to party hearty when the festivities die down, why not book the Historic Alfred I. duPont Building in downtown Miami for a private gala? Because we don’t have a curfew, you can party away till 7 a.m. if you wish.

And with its Art Deco-inspired design, two luxurious ballrooms, soaring 30-foot ceilings, and the details of the 1920s bank vault, it offers a stunning setting for any gathering.