Goombay Festival, Key West, Florida

Take one part Caribbean pride, add a splash of colorful costume, stir in a steel drum or two, sprinkle liberally with delicious food, exotic drinks, some tropical heat and you have the perfect recipe for Goombay!



What originally started as a gathering for Caribbean families to celebrate the heritage of their Bahamian ancestors in Key West, Florida has over the years evolved into a world famous events experienced by millions.

Goombay is now celebrated by many Caribbean Islands who personalize it with their own unique spin. Regardless of the spelling or pronunciation at its core, Goombay simply means rhythm and fun. And oh what fun it is!

Celebrated over several days the festival is anchored around the junkanoo parade. Elaborately dressed performers in sequins and feathers shimmy and sway to the hypnotic sounds of calypso music, steel bands, or the stylish lyrics of reggae or reggaeton music.

The carnival like atmosphere is punctuated with the sweet smells and sounds of animated vendors hawking their specialty wares. Likewise food vendors tantalize the taste buds and please the palate with such exotic fares such as johnnycakes, conch soup, oxtail stew or curried goat. There is absolutely no better way to complement the food than with the different blends of beers, rums and specialty drinks such as Bahama Mama or Summer Breeze.

Children are amply represented with games and contests. Oral storytellers called griots keeps them thoroughly entertained by bringing history alive with compelling rhymes and verses.

So the next time you are in Key West and you hear the pulsating sound of steel drum accompained by laughter, grab your dancing shoes and go experience the time of your life, Goombay style.

Visit the official website

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Last updated by Randy Taylor on 14 March, 2010 in Destinations.

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