Bahamas Goombay Festival June 1
- 3, 2012 Miami, FL
The city of Miami
is full of fun, over-the-top, flamboyant events that are all a great reason to travel to south Florida. One of these events is the Bahamas Goombay Festival, an event that celebrates black heritage in a big way. This festival is often called the largest black heritage festival in the United States. Each year in the beginning of June, Grand Avenue in Coconut Grove
transforms into a street fair that is reminiscent of Bay Street in Nassau, Bahamas. Many people travel from across the country just to be in Miami for this festive event.
The 2011 Festival
The Bahamas Goombay Festival took place on June 2 through June 5 in 2011. This cultural celebration features the music of the Bahamas, a style of music that blends together European and African influences. In fact, the festival actually gets its name from a type of goatskin drum that is responsible for delivering this type of music. In addition to music, there were dance performances and 300 vendors selling arts, crafts, and food. This street festival is one of the liveliest of the year in Coconut Grove
, a town of its own located south of Miami Beach on the mainland.
Besides being a day full of entertainment, the Bahamas Goombay Festival also has historical significance. A large number of immigrants from the Bahamas settled in Coconut Grove in the 1890s, making this area one of the oldest black communities in Miami. This festival was first celebrated in the 1970s, highlighting the heritage of the residents of Coconut Grove. Over the years it has developed into such a large event, that the Bahamas Goombay Festival is estimated to pump around $20 million into the local economy in Miami. With each year, the festival becomes bigger and draws more visitors from across the country.
What to Expect
Some travelers might be wondering what to expect in this type of street fair. There are organized events, such as the parade full of colorful Junkanoo
costumes as well as activities designated just for kids. During the day this festival is a family-friendly event with a variety of kids' activities. Potential visitors should be aware that parts of Coconut Grove don't have the best reputation after dark, so be sure to stay within areas that are full of crowds of people. In addition to the parade and family-friendly events, the festival is complete with a variety of live music, dance performances, arts, crafts, and traditional food from the Bahamas.
One highlight of the Bahamas Goombay Festival is the colorful costumes. In the parade and beyond, people with Bahamian heritage proudly wear the incredibly colorful Junkanoo costumes. Complete with head pieces and every color of the rainbow, these costumes contribute to the sensory overload that the Bahamas Goombay Festival has become associated with. These costumes have their roots in the 17th century when slaves would hide in the bushes from their masters to sing, dance, and wear costumes they are created out of leaves, newspapers, and various paints.
The main action of the Bahamas Goombay Festival takes place on one day, with smaller events spread around it. This means that in addition to attending one of the biggest black heritage festivals in the country, you also have an excuse to plan a vacation. There are many vacation rentals in Miami
, from South Beach to Coconut Grove, that would be a perfect home base for this festival. No matter what location you choose, pick a rental that is on the water to enjoy incredible local beaches right on your doorstep.
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