Goombay Festival Coconut Grove

 

Coconut Grove celebrates Bahamian culture this weekend with its annual Goombay Festival.

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By Rodolfo Roman

This weekend Grand Avenue will become Nassau Bay Street, where Junkanoo groups will be dancing and beating the drums, while whistling and banging the cowbell as part of the 34th annual Miami/Bahamas Goombay Festival.

``We celebrate the people that established Coconut Grove,'' said Cornelia Dozier, executive director of the host committee that helped organize the event.

Three musical stages will be set up where the Royal Bahamas Police Band will hit the platform to play native tunes along with other Caribbean-style entertainment, such as Rake and Scrape Legendary Musician Ancient Man.

The annual festival is a colorful celebration of culture named after a kind of goatskin drum, as well as Bahamian music, a blend of African and European musical influences.

The Bahamas have a close tie to the area. In the late 1800s, Bahamian immigrants first settled in Coconut Grove searching for jobs and homes for their families.

``We want to bring back the traditions,'' said Dozier.

At the event, revelers will get a feel of the islands by stopping at the Lil Bahamas cultural village and straw market on Grand Avenue. A visiting straw market will feature sculptures, pottery, jewelry, handmade straw bags and a wood carving demonstration. Fine art will also be for sale.

For food lovers, typical platters like fried fish, conch fritters and guava duff will be sold along with the Bahamas' national beer, Kalik. Chefs will demonstrate how to make authentic dishes.

Famed Olympic track runner Altheus ``The Hawk'' Finlayson will be signing books at the shops of Mayfair, while international Master artist Antonius Roberts will showcase her work. A live fashion show will also take place featuring clothing by designer Jeff St. John.

A Goombay Festival gospel service will be celebrated at the Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church, 3515 S. Douglas Rd., at 11 a.m. Sunday.

34th annual Miami/Bahamas Goombay Festival, Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday from noon to 8 p.m. in Coconut Grove from Douglas Road to McDonald Street.The event is free and open to the public. For information, go to www.goombayfestivalcoconutgrove.com.

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