Cuban Fare And Street Fair

Samba Room celebrates two years in Old Hyde Park Village with its second annual Samba in the Street party.

The event takes place from noon to 2 a.m., with food and beverage sales benefiting Easter Seals of Florida.

The street party features a performance by award-winning Latin musician Tito Puente Jr. and a demonstration by painter Rolando Diaz, Samba Room's signature artist.

Samba Room, for the uninitiated, is a Cuban bar and Latin cafe, part of a five-restaurant chain that serves excellent fish, shredded beef and plantains. Visitors are welcome to enjoy food and beverages while they take in live entertainment. Food and beverage offerings for the evening include an all-you-can-eat buffet and South Beach mojitos. Volunteers for Easter Seals of Florida sell food and drink tickets for $3-$6.

Rolando Diaz's demonstration takes place at the Main Fountain area at 4 p.m. Born in Havana, Cuba, in 1957, Diaz is inspired by the world's impoverished people, especially those he's seen firsthand in his native Cuba and other places he's visited, such as Haiti.

Most of the images are of bohemian life, surrounded by palms and plant life. The style owes much to the cubist work of Picasso.

Accompanied by composer/pianist Seth Simmons, Diaz presents an original canvas to be auctioned by Easter Seals.

Throughout the day there are musical performances on two stages by such acts as Euforia, Impulse, Florida School for the Arts, Christie Jimenez, Project Entertainment, Darrell Jarmon and local Latin performers. Tito Puente Jr. goes on at 7 p.m.

The son of beloved Latin jazz icon Tito Puente, Puente Jr. plays a style that combines Afro-Cuban rhythms and house music. It's a sound similar to that of salsa artist Marc Anthony, and it fits with what's popular at the moment in Miami, where Puente Jr., a native New Yorker, resides. His latest release is the single "Para Ti/Here's to You" (2003).

At 9 p.m., the party moves inside the Samba Room, where Orquesta Infinidad plays on into the night (not quite to infinity).

For more information, please call the Samba Room at 813-254-5870.

Old Hyde Park Village is located at Swann and Dakota avenues, near Bayshore Boulevard. For directions or a calendar of events, log on to or call 813-251-3500.

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