Goombay Festival Fills Coconut Grove with Junkanoo, Dancing, and Conch (Video)

If you went to G.W. Carver Middle School, you probably remember that, around this time each year, you and your classmates were lucky enough to spend a few hours on the sports field watching Caribbean dancers get down and drumming in shimmery, feathery Junkanoo costumes in preparation of the Goombay Festival.

Goombay takes place in Coconut Grove one weekend a year, celebrating Bahamian culture with music, dance, drums, and a ton of conch. There's so much conch salad at Goombay, that every conch in the Caribbean is probably shaking in its shells the week before the festival.

It was hot out there this weekend, like really oppressively hot. Families roamed about with umbrella hats, and frozen lemonade, and Heat jerseys were all the rage, of course. Ben and Jerry's welcomed us with free Cherry Garcia, a magical, chilly elixir for the relentless sun.

At the mouth of the festival, a wall of speakers and of sound, brought hip-hop and reggae all the way down the three or four blocks of Grand Avenue. The street was lined with vendors selling Bahamas and Marley tees, airbrushed helmets, drinks and, like we said, conch. Ceatively Hers had a booth selling purses and even flip-flops out of used materials like old Newport packs.

At the other end of Grand, a huge station set up where kids were excited to show off their b-ball skills. These little tykes were good. There were even a few girls in there, dribbling and jumping. Very impressive.

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Liz Tracy has written for publications such as the New York Times, the Atlantic, Refinery29, W, Glamour, and, of course, Miami New Times. She was New Times Broward-Palm Beach's music editor for three years. Now she plays one mean monster with her 2-year-old son and obsessively watches British mysteries.
Contact: Liz Tracy