May 26, 2010

Cuba Nostalgia 2010

This past Sunday, May 23rd, Mom, Grandma and I went to the Cuba Nostalgia event at the dade county fairgrounds. This event has Cuban music, food, movies, art, handmade items, celebrities, exhibits and tons of pictures of old Cuba. Now my grandmother came to the US when she was 18 years old, so she loves going to this event to see and tell us of how things were in Cuba.

This event is totally the essence of vintage and retro. But retro as you're not used to seeing it, retro from the Cuban perspective. Check out the replica of art deco "El Encanto" department store (that's Mom posing in front of it). This was the department store in 1950s Cuba, and even the movie stars from here used to shop there.

They had some exhibits set up to look like Cuba. Here grandma and I are in front of "el morro" (or a mock-up with a backdrop... LOL)

Of course, there was no lack of awesome handmade items at the event either. There were "Cuban" Christmas trees. They are so cute. Little Christmas trees all decorated with Cuban things: flags, maracas, dominoes, baseballs, guajiro hats, hibiscus, coffee, Cuban coffee cups and little bacardi rum bottles. They were so cute. They also had Cuban themed wreaths. Such a cute idea for the holidays.

We also found the cutest dolls. I just fell in love with them. They were dolls dressed like little santeras. Santeras are the followers of an Afro-Cuban religion that combined Catholicism with the African religions brought to the island by the African slaves. The dolls were adorable, their dresses were so pretty, all adorned with lace and trims and little flowers, and I just love their little turbans.

The other handmade items were a little bigger. There were lots of domino tables, since there's nothing Cubans like more than playing dominoes! These tables were beautiful made from wood and with Cohiba "cigars" as domino racks. Too cute! This one with all the vintage Cuba travel posters was my fave. And, of course, to accompany your domino table, some handmade dominoes. Not your run of the mill double-nine set though. How bout ones with some sparkle? Glittery dominoes, so awesome.

But I have to say I was most impressed by the rocking chairs. They were stunning. I'm not sure what kind of wood they were made of, but we talked to the guy that made them. He explained how he reinforced the seats, so the caning wouldn't break. And having seen that happen to a lot of rocking chairs it was nice that he looked to alter them to avoid that problem. My mom loves rocking chairs and this one was just so gorgeous.

There was a huge Cuba map on the floor and everyone was looking for their town. Grandma found hers, Baire. Well this is actually the town the moved to after they left the coffee plantation in Riito de Matias. She placed her feet by her town. She's from the province of Oriente, on the far west side of the island. She's a country girl, and then she moved here to the US and its big cities.

We, of course couldn't miss checking out the Cuban baseball exhibit. Grandma is a huge baseball fan (she follows the Marlins and Tampa Bay), and remembers her Cuban teams fondly. Here she is at the exhibit. Now I'm not sure if these ladies played ball or were just sporting the hats, but these were the teams in Cuba: Habana, Marianao, Cienfuegos and Almendares. I think this poster of the girls in the hats was so cute. It reminded me of A League of Their Own.

We had a great time at Cuba Nostalgia. Grandma found lots of music and movies that she remembers from the olden days, which she has been listening to on her cd player all the time. She also found and old movie adaptation of a novela she used to listen to on the radio with her father. Mom found some Cuban movies she'd been looking for too. So crazy the stuff you can find there. We had some free juice from Goya and had lunch there before heading home. But I'm sorry to say, there is no Cuban food that compares to homemade.


  1. We go to Cuba Nostalgia every year! It really gives me a sense of pride and appreciation for where my family is from.

  2. Greetings Diana...My name is Miguel Sague...I am sorry that I missed this post way back when you first posted it. I hope that your mom is still well and enjoying the nostalgia. I am from Santiago (moved to the USA when I was 11 years old. But my mother-in-law lived in Riito De Matias in a coffee plantation for a little while before she moved to the U. S. in 1958. She was originally from Santiago but right after she graduated from the LA NORMAL teacher school she did a required stint as a stint as teacher in the remote rural region of Riito De Matias where she met her future husband (my father-in-law) who lived on a large coffee plantation. He was the son of the president of the National Coffee Growers Association of Cuba (my wife's grandfather). I found your post because I was sitting here listening to my mother-in-law's stories of the old days back in Cuba and I Googled the name Riito De Matias just on the off chance that I might find something about that remote country community near the town of Mafo.