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

Categories: Culture
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Photo by Yesenia Hernandez
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.

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Photos by Liz Tracy
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.

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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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The best part of any fair in Miami is the airbrush booths. You could get an angry Bart Simpson on your tank, or even a Dora the Explorer on your motorcycle helmet. It was pop culture fashion at its best.

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The lady chef at Conchy Joe's booth made fresh conch salad ready to order. For "medium" heat, she chopped the tiniest bit of pepper into a heaping delicious mix of tomatoes, peppers, onions, and conch, adding a ton of spice. It was a culinary and cultural delight out there this weekend. Goombay continues to show that beautiful island spirit right here in Miami year after year.

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