Annual Havana Nights in Downey

Performance+by+La+Charanga+Cubana

Julio Rodriguez

La Charanga Cubana is performing while people are dancing to their music at the Havana Night event on Oct. 7.

Julio Rodriguez, Staff Writer

Downey hosted their Annual Havana Nights event on Oct. 6 between 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

In previous years, the event was hosted on top of a parking lot structure on 2nd street.

However, this year the event was hosted in Downtown Downey Ave., between 2nd and 4th street.

Havana Nights consisted of live performances such as “La Charanga Cubana” and “DJ Warapo.” Before the performances, there was a special appearance by the Mayor of Downey, Blanca Pacheco.

There were tons of activities at the event like card games, an arts and crafts center, a section of “Connect 4” and a bean bag toss for children to play with.

For people wanting to take photos, a photo booth where people can take pictures with a selfie stick was included. In addition, there were also other places to take your photos such as the old cars on display, the big letters spelling Downey, etc.

There were 40+ vendors that sold different items like toys, jewelry and clothing, which were curated by Angel City Market Inc.

The vendors weren’t exclusive to normal items but included drinks and desserts such as Frescas, Cuban food, juice packs and so on.

One of the vendors even had reptiles, lizards and snakes on display for people to take pictures of.

A section of the event where alcoholic drinks and beef were sold was curated by the Soroptimist of Downey where people 21 and over can drink and have a good time.

Cuban food was sold from Porto’s Bakery and Cafe while Tropicana Bakery sold cookies, beer and drinks.

A vendor and artist, Michelle Taylor, spoke about why Havana Nights was a special event to her.

Art by Pinchi Michi Art
Some of the art pieces made by Michelle Taylor, Pinchi Michi Art, that was shown at her booth on Oct. 7. (Julio Rodriguez)

Taylor talked about how she was invited by Downey Art Coalition to show off her artwork.

“It’s still nice to have an event that’s just hosted for Cuban culture,” the artist said, “That’s what Havana Nights is about.”

Nancy Calas, a vendor who sold vegan Cuban food and owns the catering business, “Malecón,” spoke about what inspired her to make Cuban food.

“When I came out to California from Flordia, I felt like I wanted to share Cuban food with people,” the vendor said.

“I thought there were a lot of vegans so I found a way to make all of my favorite Cuban (food) plant-based,” Calas said.

She said that she wanted vegans and non-vegans to eat Cuban food that was traditional or plant-based versions of her favorite Cuban meals.