Starting at noon on Sunday, January 15, the LGBT Community came out in waves for the second annual Gay8 Festival. Just like last year, the festival was a huge draw; by 5 pm thousands of people had taken over Calle Ocho (SW 8th Street), the heart of Little Havana.

The street was closed to traffic between 13th and 17th Avenues, the Salsa was loud, people were smiling and dancing and it was an amazing day that brought the LGBT community and the Hispanic community together.

As she took the stage with Son Locos, a local band that was nominated for a Latin Grammy, local drag queen and legend Maritrini welcomed the gays and the straights to the neighborhood. “This is a fantastic day,” she said. “Today we are here not as gay or straight but as brothers and sisters.” She went on to thank the Miami Police and Firemen who were there, many wearing hats that had rainbow flags on them. “They have really treated us like family and we are so happy they are here to keep us safe.”

There were several areas for dancing including the main stage which featured other bands, a Girl Party-there were definitely lots of gurlllls there- featuring DJ Citizen Jane and a bear party too. LGBT friendly businesses lined both sides of the street in what was really an impressive display because many of them were not the typical businesses that you might expect at a “gay pride” event. Almost all of the business in the block off area and all of the restaurants were open and supporting the event. “We’ve been busy all day long” one server told me. “Much busier than a typical Sunday, he added in Spanish.

If you missed the party, check out our Facebook page where we have posted a few pictures and videos of the event. We already can’t wait to see what the organizers have in store for next year!