Goombay Goodwill

Is this really 2011? Because parts of Miami still appear segregated. This is especially noticeable in south Coconut Grove, where a black neighborhood sits adjacent to, but completely separated from, both an affluent white neighborhood and a similarly upscale business district. It’s lame, and it shows how far this city still has to go to live up to its diversity billing. If only the community could take lessons from the Goombay Festival and apply them year-round. Started in the ’70s, Goombay (which is also the name of a type of goatskin drum) celebrates the Bahamian origins of the Grove. And in true Caribbean fashion, the descendants of the erstwhile islanders get together to dance, sing, drink, and then dance some more. Their enthusiasm is infectious. Soon the streets are filled with true racial diversity as everyone joins the second line with Miami’s Bahamian brothers and sisters. But the festival is more than goodwill. There will be three concert stages along Grand Avenue, and the 55-member Royal Bahamas Police Band will be among the many performers. More than 300 vendors with arts, crafts, and food will populate the streets, while junkanoo dancers in colorful outfits walk among the thousands of revelers. The street festival runs Saturday and Sunday.
June 4-5, noon, 2011


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