Visitors can experience sights, sounds and flavors recalling Key West's Bahamian heritage at the family-friendly Goombay Festival, scheduled Friday and Saturday, Oct. 18-19.
The high-spirited street festival takes place in the Bahama Village neighborhood, settled in part by Bahamians seeking a new home and economic opportunity in the 1800s. A seasonal highlight that dates back more than 30 years, the island-style celebration marks the beginning of Key West's Oct. 18-27 Fantasy Fest masking and costuming festival.
Goombay's action is centered on Petronia Street, just off Key West's famed Duval Street. Events are scheduled from noon to midnight both days.
Festival attendees can savor the flavors of vendors' ethnic dishes from the Caribbean and other locales, discover African and island arts and crafts, and enjoy the culture and camaraderie of historic Bahama Village.
Nonstop live music and dancing in the streets are major draws for the thousands who flock to the festival each year. As well as traditional Goombay music similar to calypso, featured musical genres range from gospel to reggae, soca to hip-hop and more.
A stellar lineup of entertainers is to perform on a main stage at Petronia and Emma streets. Attendees can enjoy island-influenced rhythms from The Togetherness Band, the roots reggae/dub-hop of Jahfe, alternative reggae from The People UpStairs, Total Recall's 1990s alternative cover tunes and local students' steel pan stylings.
Favorite local performers are to rock at the Bourbon St. Garden Bar on Petronia Street, with the normally enclosed garden open to the public for the festival. Entertainers including steel drummer standout Toko Irie, Captain Blues and Hebrew are to play from noon to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Goombay audiences also can enjoy live music at smaller venues throughout the festival, as well as a Junkanoo Rush of costumed marchers beginning at 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday through downtown Key West and Bahama Village.
Event information: www.bahamavillagegoombay.com
Key West visitor information: www.fla-keys.com/keywest or 1-800-LAST-KEY
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