Elvis Ramirez

The Miami/Bahamas Goombay Festival at Coconut Grove

The blistering heat and suffocating humidity didn't stifle the 32nd Annual Miami/Bahamas Goombay festival, but it sure did keep some people at home.

Bob Marley and The Wailers blasted through the speakers and could be heard from several blocks away. Yeah I know what you are thinking, "Bob Marley was Jamaican not Bahamian." I thought that too, and for a second believed that I wasn't at the right festival. But hey who doesn't like Bob Marley, so it wasn't that big a deal.

As I traveled down Fuller Street feeling as if the sun was just inches away from my head, there were a few stragglers wandering around with me. But with nothing to see other than the ubiquitous lemonade stands and sno cone shacks, most people kept walking past the festival.

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If they had stuck around though they would have been caught up in the opening parade. One minute, most people are eating and chatting in what shade was available, and the next they're caught up in a swirl of colors, glitter and Bahamian rhythms.

The parade of people on trumpets and goombays, the drum which shares the Bahamian music style's name, flowed from one end of the street to the other. It ended abruptly and everyone went back to wandering around the festival, almost as if the whole parade didn't happen. Maybe it was a hallucination due to heat.

The festival continued to lull past 3 p.m. until the first bands started to take the stage, by then people were either anxious for things to start or were already heading to their cars. The brief bursts of energy during the several parades was well worth it though. -- Elvis Ramirez

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