When 125,000 Cuban exiles fled to Florida in the Mariel boatlift, many believed that Castro opened prisons and mental hospitals to infiltrate the U.S. with undesirables. But at this weekends Cuba Nostalgia, Marielitos will have the chance to shake off that stigma by documenting just how awesomely productive theyve been since landing here in 1980.
Cuba Nostalgia is a three-day festival that celebrates all things Cuban, particularly the prerevolution glory days of Havana. Traditional music and food, re-creations of historical landmarks, and memorabilia will fill the Fair Expo (10901 Coral Way, Miami), triggering memories for exiles and providing visuals for those who grew up hearing stories of Old Havana. This year, the heritage festival honors mambo and bolero singer Beny Moré with an exhibit of his recordings, photos, and album covers.
Homesick Cubans can walk down childhood streets on a giant floor map of Havana and pass familiar landmarks like department store El Encanto and the ornate Colón Cemetery. Take simulated strolls along the Prado and Malecón and have your picture taken at a faux Havana seawall. Then sit down for a real game of dominoes and an actual pan con lechon. The reminiscing starts at 11 a.m. Friday through Sunday, and admission is $12 for adults and $6 for children. Call 305-856-7595, or visit cubanostalgia.org.
Saturdays, Sundays, 11 a.m. Starts: May 22. Continues through May 23, 2010