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A 'Taste of Haiti' dazzles

Festival, celebrations held throughout South Florida to celebrate Haitian Heritage Month

Miami Times staff report | 5/8/2014, 9 a.m.
Zakafest, an event celebrating Haitian dance and culture, was held in Little Haiti last weekend as part of Haitian Heritage Month.

The culinary talents of chefs will be on display this Saturday when District 2 Commissioner Jean Monestime teams up with city officials to host a Taste of Haiti, a five-hour long event that will bring Haitian culture and cuisine to residents all over South Florida. The event will be held on the plaza of the Museum of Contemporary Art, located at 770 NE 125th Street. Admission is free, but there will be various foods and beverages for food lovers to purchase.

Taste of Haiti will be one of several events held throughout Miami-Dade County as part of Haitian Heritage Month. The City of North Miami, which has a large Haitian population, kicked off the month-long festivities with a opening ceremony that celebrated the resilience and vibrant nature of Haitian culture through the work of renowned artist, Sophia Lacroix.

Also on Saturday, the 16th Annual Haitian Compas Festival is at 3 p.m. on May 17 at Sun Life Stadium, 2269 NW 199th St., in Miami Gardens, featuring live music from Kassav, Tabou Combo, Kreyol La and more. Compas Music is a blend of Caribbean music that is part Latin, part rhythm-and-blues, and part rap, with the feel of syncopated jazz. For Tickets, go to http://www.sunlifestadium.com/calendar/haitian-compas-festival.

More than 267,000 Haitians live in Florida, making it one of the state’s larger ethnic groups. With the vast majority in South Florida, there’s a host of festivals and events for Haitian Heritage Month throughout the region in May to celebrate and spotlight Haitian culture, providing many chances to sample compas music or tchaka stew and other aspects of Haitian culture. Haitian Heritage Month is a celebration in the United States of Haitian heritage and culture. It was first celebrated in Boston in 1998. Tele Kreyol, one of the Boston Haitian Access Television programs, celebrated the whole month of May with a series of programs on Haitian history, culture, and contributions to the world. The month-long celebration has continued with such activities as parades, flag raising and exhibits organized by Haitian-Americans United, Inc. (H.A.U.) in collaboration with several Haitian organizations in the New England area.

The Haitian community of Palm Beach County, Florida, which started the Heritage celebration in 2001, contributed greatly to make the Heritage Month first a statewide celebration, and then, a national one in the United States. South Florida congressman Kendrick B. Meek introduced unsuccessfully a bill in the United States House of Representatives in 2004 and 2006 to recognize the month of May as Haitian-American Heritage Month in the United States. President George W. Bush and his wife Laura Bush sent a letter in May 2005 to congratulate the Haitian-American community for the heritage month and organized a celebration at the White House the same year. Since 1998, several governors, members of state senates and houses of representatives, mayors and city councilors have issued annual citations and proclamations, recognizing the Haitian Heritage Month celebration in their states or cities.