Good news for Cubanophiles: on Saturday, August 10, the "Havana Nights" car show is coming to Valley Mall Parkway in East Wenatchee.

Cuba is a tiny, resourceful, hard-bitten island nation, less than 100 miles off the Florida coast. Many of the vehicles on Cuban roadways were assembled before 1960. Classic and vintage cars predominate because of a sweeping, indefinite trade embargo.

For all its innovations in medicine and medical research, Cuba is in some ways an oasis of premodernity - the land that time forgot.

But "Havana Nights" is no mere parade of antique cars. According to an East Wenatchee press release, "drums will play and hips will sway" to mambo, cha-cha-chá and salsa music.

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Clearwater Saloon & Casino will be cohosting; Discount Auto Glass is sponsoring the event.

There will be food trucks too. According to East Wenatchee spokeswoman Trina Elmes, participating vendors include Bavarian Kettle Corn, Dooley Dogs, Tacos González and Toast'N'Buggy.

The United States has, of course, been incurably hostile to Cuba since 1959, when Fidel Castro, the brash and showmanistic Communist guerilla leader, swept into power. But despite some backsliding during Donald Trump's presidency, U.S.-Cuba relations have started to thaw somewhat.

In late May the Biden Administration announced limited sanctions relief.

The Cuban diaspora in this country is substantial albeit heavily concentrated in Florida. But there are more than 11,000 Cuban-Americans in Washington State.

"Havana Nights" takes place from 6 to 10 p.m. on Aug. 10. It's free to attend, but you'll need a ticket to enjoy a hand-rolled cigar, or to include your vehicle in the classic car showcase.

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Gallery Credit: Dave Roberts

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