The Goombay Festival takes place in the streets of Coconut Grove every June. The 2014 annual festival will be on Saturday June 7 and Sunday June 8.
In the past the festival has been held in August; it is best to check the internet for the latest schedule. The festival has had funding problems for the past couple of years, and its future is in doubt. It will be a shame if it doesn't survive; it has always been one of the Miami area's most popular events.
Coconut Grove was originally settled in the 1800's by black immigrants from the Bahamas. Their descendants are still very prominent in the business and cultural community of Miami and Coconut Grove.
Many of the family names you encounter in The Grove and the Florida Keys derive from the Bahamas: Rolle, Bethel, Malone, Sands and Russell for examples.
Many of the early settlers were skilled stone masons. You can still see their handiwork in the many coquina walls, houses and churches that help give Coconut Grove its unique ambience.
A group of local people started Goombay Festival in 1976. It has been growing in popularity ever since. The festival celebrates the culture and music of the Bahamian-Americans in the area, but it has also expanded to include just about everybody who wants to have a good time.
If you've ever been to The Bahamas during Junkanoo or other Goombay festivals, you will have an idea of what this festival is like. The main streets of Coconut Grove are filled with people in bright costumes of primary colors.
You will see them dancing in parades to the sounds of Bahamian music including whistles, cowbells and drums.
The parades pass through streets lined with food and craft vendors. You can enjoy authentic Bahamian food. Grand Avenue, one of the main drags in Coconut Grove, looks like a scene from the Bahamas.
In addition to the Bahamian-American culture, the African-American culture is also represented with their food and music as well.
The entire event is family friendly and will delight lovers of Caribbean music, culture and food.
See our page on Coconut Grove for ideas about other things to do and places to see while you are in town for the festival.