Revelers can enjoy island-style music, food, and a high-energy celebration of the cultural connection between Key West and the Bahamas at the annual Goombay street festival set for noon to midnight Friday and Saturday, Oct. 20-21.
The family-friendly festival is centered on Petronia Street, just off Key West’s famed Duval Street in the heart of the historic Bahama Village neighborhood. Scheduled performers include the 43-piece New Generation Cultural Group from Grand Bahama Island, Bahamas, leading a traditional Junkanoo parade of costumed marchers.
For more than 30 years, Key West’s Goombay Festival has marked the start of the Florida Keys’ Fantasy Fest, a 10-day costuming and masking celebration whose 2023 revelry continues through Sunday, Oct. 29.
Each year, the lively open-air Goombay festivities draw thousands of people who view and purchase island-style arts and crafts, savor the flavors of food vendors’ ethnic and multicultural delicacies, and spend two rocking evenings dancing in the streets.
Saturday night’s exuberant Junkanoo parade, led by the acclaimed New Generation Cultural Group, is to begin at 6:15 p.m. and travel through Bahama Village and Key West’s historic downtown. The group features 14 masquerade dancers in opulent costumes, three marshals and a 26-member band — all celebrating the centuries-old Junkanoo tradition of music, dance and vibrant spirit.
Additional festival highlights are to include Friday night’s opening ceremonies and a “Junkanoo Rush” staged by the New Generation Cultural Group.
The main entertainment stage, located at the corner of Petronia and Emma streets, is to feature entertainers offering nonstop tunes in genres ranging from gospel to c8alypso to reggae. The entertainment lineup includes “soul man” Robert Albury, reggae and soca singer Hebrew, the Sun Dogs Band, the V Connection Band and reggae headliner Adventurous.
Other Bahama Village stages are to feature local favorite acts including steel pan master Toko Irie and students from the Bahama Village Music Program.