Make Way for Goombay

Miami’s revelers always visit the other half of Coconut Grove’s Grand Avenue — the commercialized strip that’s home to chain retailers and college bars. The other half — which contains rundown buildings and shady lounges with tinted windows — typically gets nary a glance as cars cruise to their highfalutin destinations. But not this weekend, culture lovers. It’s time for the annual Miami/Bahamas Goombay Festival, which for 32 years has been uniting well-to-do Grovites, the residents of the Bahamian Village, and anyone looking for live music, a colorful parade, and lots of island-style fun in the heart of Miami’s pedestrian paradise.

The historic fete is touted as the largest black heritage festival, and it celebrates the legacy of the first black settlers to arrive in Miami — Bahamian craftsmen brought here to help build Coconut Grove’s first hotel. The official opening will take place from 5 to 10 p.m. Friday, with live music and festivities in Peacock Park. On Saturday, the street festival will commence at the intersection of Grand and Douglas Road at 11 a.m. and take over the thoroughfare until 8 p.m. with costumed revelers, syncopated rhythms, and live performances by soul singer Betty Wright as well as the Royal Bahamas Police Band.
Fri., June 6; Sat., June 7, 2008
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Patrice Elizabeth Grell Yursik