KEY WEST, Florida Keys — In the early 1800s Key West was settled in part by Bahamian residents who migrated across the water to the new American seaport city. The annual Goombay street festival, a high-energy celebration of the cultural connection between Key West and the Bahamas, is set for Friday and Saturday, Oct. 22 and 23.
A family-friendly event now in its 30th year, the lively Goombay Festival is centered on Petronia Street, just off Key West’s famed Duval Street in the heart of historic Bahama Village. Events are to take place from noon to 11 p.m. both days.
Each year the festival attracts thousands of people who view and purchase African and island arts and crafts, savor the flavors of ethnic delicacies and spend two rollicking evenings dancing in the streets. The crowd typically blends national and international visitors and residents who have made attending Goombay a local tradition.
Highlights of Goombay 2010 include a Junkanoo Rush of costumed marchers and nonstop entertainment by popular Bahamian, South Florida and Keys musicians and bands. Acts are to include the Robert Albury Band, Blessed Community Gospel Choir, Thunder from Down Under, Key West Island Junkanoos and the Steel Your Heart Band.
The featured headliner is to be Kenneth “Porgy” Delancy from the Bahamian island of Bimini, performing the festival’s theme song, “It’s Goombay.”
Goombay’s official opening ceremonies are scheduled at 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 22, at the main entertainment stage on Bahama Village’s Emma Street.
Thursday, Oct. 21, a pre-Goombay VIP reception and booth pre-registration are scheduled at the Coral City Elks Lodge, 1107 Whitehead St.
Goombay weekend marks the beginning of Fantasy Fest, Key West’s 10-day masking and costuming gala, scheduled Friday, Oct. 22, through Sunday, Oct. 31.
For more information about Goombay, visit www.goombay-keywest.org.
For lodging information in Key West, contact the Key West Chamber of Commerce at 1-800-LAST-KEY (800-527-8539) or visit the Keys website at www.fla-keys.com.