KEY WEST, Florida Keys — Visitors can experience sights, sounds and flavors recalling Key West’s Bahamian heritage at the family-friendly Goombay Festival, scheduled Friday and Saturday, Oct. 21-22. The exuberant street festival takes place in the island city’s Bahama Village neighborhood, settled in part by Bahamians seeking a new home in the early 1800s.
Now in its 31st year, the Goombay Festival marks the beginning of Key West’s Fantasy Fest, a 10-day masking and costuming celebration that continues through Sunday, Oct. 30.
Goombay’s high-energy action is centered on Petronia Street, just off Key West’s famed Duval Street in the heart of Bahama Village, and extends to Goombay Park at the far end of Petronia. Events are to take place from noon to midnight both days.
Festival attendees can savor the flavors of Caribbean and ethnic dishes offered by vendors, discover African and island arts and crafts, and dance in the streets to live music by popular Bahamian, South Florida and Keys musicians and bands.
Traditional Goombay music, similar to calypso, is based on rhythmical drumming on goatskin drums combined with lyrics that tell stories. Scheduled entertainers include the Junkanoo groups Thunder From Down Under, Sunshine Junkanoos and the Key West Island Junkanoos.
Other festival standouts include a Junkanoo Rush of costumed marchers and appearances by stilt walkers and a fire dancer.
Event information: www.goombay-keywest.org
Key West visitor information: www.fla-keys.com/keywest or 1-800-LAST-KEY