MIAMI – The Kiwanis Club of Little Havana’s president said the loss of the Calle Ocho Festival will impact the organization’s social programs with a loss of about $500,000.
The Kiwanis Club of Little Havana’s programs, which benefit impoverished inner-city youth in Miami, include college scholarships, a summer camp, a Back-To-School event, and the Christmas’ Toy For Every Child and Crowns of Love initiatives.
On Friday morning, city officials announced the event’s permit was not approved even though the event’s organizers had committed to installing sanitization stations. The president of the Kiwanis Club of Little Havana, Jorge Fernandez, said it’s unlikely the event will be rescheduled this year.
“We are looking at a cancellation. I’m not certain about it, the reason being is that we have many, many sponsors and the logistics involved, in their participating in the festival,” Fernandez said. “These same sponsors may have other projects that they have already scheduled for further down the year.”
The cancellation of the Calle Ocho Festival will also have a ripple effect on Little Havana’s businesses. The festival attracted about a million people to the heart of the neighborhood on Eighth Street every year.
Carnaval on the Mile, another important Kiwanis Club of Little Havana Foundation fundraiser, is scheduled to go on as planned on Saturday and Sunday in Coral Gables. The not-for-profit organization’s foundation also counts on the funds raised during an annual gala and a golf tournament.
FULL INTERVIEW: Kiwanis Club of Little Havana president