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Sunday, August 05, 2012

Not much of a Goombay Festival

Despite the fact that it was a pretty nice day, no rain and kind of breezy, not many people came out to the Goombay Festival on Saturday. It could be that many didn't know about the festival. I actually just heard about it the morning of the event, there were no press releases or promotions sent out for the event. I was looking forward to it, too, especially the food. In previous years it was amazing.

It pains me to say this, because I used to love this festival, but the once mighty festival is now a spread out flea market. What used to stretch from Douglas Road to Fuller Street, then to the post office, then to McDonald Street, is now only a couple of blocks long. Vendors line up along the street, only they aren't side by side, there is lots of empty space.

This used to be one of my favorite festivals, it used to get so crowded that you couldn't pass through the crowd walking your bicycle, as my friends and I used to do. The conch salads were there and the conch fritters and a few other items, but nothing really held my interest. 

Jeff Benjamin (left), who is running for City of Miami Mayor in 2013, was there handing out brochures and chatting up people -- the only politician to schmooze the crowd. The music was quite filthy. This guy to the right, up on stage was singing all this nasty stuff and so were the other performers at the other end of the block. Not really too appealing for a family crowd.

It's a shame what has become of this once great heritage festival. Maybe they need to dump the board of directors, get a new one and hire an event planner to run the show. Something needs to be done before the event ends up being one block long, then a half block and then just fades into oblivion. I never did get to see the Junkanoo parade and no one else that I asked seemed to see it either, so not sure what that's about, but the main attraction, the colorful parade, should be featured and taken advantage of.

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Blogger David McBurnett said...

Sad and true...

August 05, 2012 9:10 AM  
Blogger David McBurnett said...

Too true...sad. I guess our "culture" is not the carnival circus of the Art Festival....which was a horror show of poor taste. Terrible food booths, loud cell phone barkers and too much commercial art.... Best show is GiFford Lane for sure...

August 05, 2012 9:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wasn't able to make it so now I've got to go down to Alabama Jacks to get my conch fritter fix.

Is it just me or was there no advertising for this? Why was it moved from its usual time? Isn't it usually at the end of spring/beginning of summer?


August 05, 2012 3:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fried garlic shrimp was excellent, the vendors were less than a third of previous years, Goombay should be moved back to June so more people can attend and the weather is milder.

August 05, 2012 7:53 PM  
Anonymous swlip said...

The obnoxious rap music has kept me away from previous incarnations of this event. It just doesn't say "Bahamas" to me. But then again, I'm probably not qualified to say what is authentically Bahamian.

August 06, 2012 6:41 PM  
Anonymous AnnaMaria Windisch-Hunt said...

So sad to get this report. I always enjoyed Goombay. Take you down memory lane. I still have all the photos and some video from the past. Fred Hunt even painted the parade two different times. One year the One Ear Society taugh the kids how to make the original costumes weeks before Goombay and had them danced with the Junkanoo band.
Was looking forward to your pictures of this event.

August 07, 2012 4:54 PM  
Anonymous Marcelo Salup said...

I feel really bad about the Goombay Festival. When I first moved to Miami it was my favorite festival, not so much for the food, but for the music, the colors and the general good spirits.

The Goombay organizing committe, however, has got to take full blame for the decline of the festival in the past 2 years.

No social media of any kind, no Facebook page, no press-releases... nothing. I found out by sheer coincidence on the Friday that the event was beginning.

I tried contacting the organizing committee as listed on the website and left several messages and email... nothing.

I even offered to donate my services with pictures, social media (I own an ad agency)... nothing.

I agree with you that it would benefit from being in June, but also the organizers need to be fired and new, more enthusiastic, more responsive people brought in

August 07, 2012 5:50 PM  
Blogger Brian Breslin said...

I was looking forward to some conch fritters this year. I found out about it only when I was trying to drive down grand and got detoured. It was also SUPER hot that day, they should avoid mid summer for these outdoor daytime festivals.

definitely a shame. the once vibrancy of the caribbean culture is lost.

August 08, 2012 5:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


August 09, 2012 12:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm going to just assume that Sarnoff is to blame...

August 10, 2012 12:55 PM  

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