Hip, Hip Goombay!
For true South Florida-style diversity, look to Coconut Grove. Located on Biscayne Bay, a few miles south of downtown Miami, the lushly landscaped area is perhaps this city's most eclectic neighborhood. Over the years it has boasted bratty college kids carousing and cruising around in their cars on weekend nights, hippies and artists hanging out in the parks, and millionaires building their monstrous monuments such as Vizcaya, which still stands today.
Some of the first Grovites were Bahamian immigrants, who settled there in the late 1800s, working at the popular Peacock Inn and taking up residence in small wooden houses along Charles Avenue. A vibrant community sprouted in what came to be known as the Black Grove, now an increasingly troubled area attempting to get back on its feet. Nevertheless for more than 25 years residents have still found reason to celebrate, specifically commemorating their Bahamian roots with the Miami/Bahamas Goombay Festival. What began originally as a weekend affair has exploded into a ten-day marathon featuring myriad events and now touting itself as the nation's largest black festival.
Music and remarks from local bigwigs kick things off this Friday. A golf tournament, comedy showcase, poetry readings, a dinner, storytelling, and a demonstration of rodeo skills continue the week. It culminates in a two-day street celebration, offering entertainment from the Royal Bahamian Police Band and R&B acts on three stages; vendors hawking arts and crafts; traditional Bahamian food; and junkanoo troupes, happily dancing their way through the streets, horns, whistles, bells, and drums pulsating. Attendees are encouraged to join the Caribbean conga line, for when it comes to having fun, no one should dance alone.
The Miami/Bahamas Goombay Festival begins with opening ceremonies and a concert
Virrick Park, 3255 Plaza St, Coconut Grove, and runs through Sunday, June 9, at many locations around Miami
5:00 p.m. Friday, May 31, Admission for events varies; most are free. See "Calendar Events," page 32, for more details. Call 305-567-1399.
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