GOOMBAY FESTIVAL - Bahama Village, Key West

November 02, 2023

GOOMBAY FESTIVAL - Bahama Village, Key West

Just before the grand spectacle of Fantasy Fest takes over Key West, Bahama Village comes alive with the rhythms of Goombay Festival. This annual event is a celebration of culture, music, and tradition, offering a glimpse into the heart and soul of the Bahamas right here in the Florida Keys.

Goombay Festival takes place in the aptly named, Bahama Village, a historic neighborhood in Key West known for its Bahamian heritage. With its colorful cottages and lively atmosphere, Bahama Village is the perfect setting for this annual celebration.

Bahama Village, Key West. Photo by Bill KlippBahama Village Entrance off Duval Street, Key West. Photo by Bill Klipp

The festival is a dynamic fusion of Bahamian and Key West culture. It showcases the rich heritage of the Bahamian people who have had a profound influence on the Keys. The festival's name, "Goombay," is derived from a style of music and dance that is a quintessential part of Bahamian culture. You can expect to be drawn into the rhythm of steel drums and calypso tunes that make it nearly impossible to resist dancing in the streets.

Photo Courtesy of Keysweekly.comGoombay Festival. Main photo & photo directly above, courtesy of

Goombay brings the village alive with a kaleidoscope of colors. From the traditional Bahamian Junkanoo costumes to the vivid displays of art and crafts, the streets are transformed into a sea of colors and patterns.

Food is a fundamental aspect of any culture, and Goombay offers a culinary journey through Bahamian and West Indian cuisine. Flavors of conch fritters, jerk chicken, and the ever-popular Bahamian cracked conch, match well with the tropical drinks and cocktails which serve as a large part of the festivity.

Goombay Festival photo by Bill KlippGoombay Cuisine. Photo by Bill Klipp

Goombay Festival also showcases the incredible artistic talents of the local community. The streets are lined with artisans displaying handmade jewelry, paintings, and crafts that reflect the essence of Bahamian and West Indian culture. It's an excellent opportunity to pick up unique, handmade souvenirs that tell the story of that one time you went to Goombay in Key West.

Goombay ArtisansGoombay Festival. Photo courtesy

The festival isn't just a tourist attraction either; it's an integral part of the Key West community. It brings locals and visitors together to revel in the joy of the Bahamas' vibrant culture. It's a time when the whole island takes to the streets in this little village, and everyone is a part of the celebration.

Goombay FestivalGoombay Festival. Photo courtesy

Beyond its own merits, the Goombay Festival also serves as the perfect kickoff for the renowned Fantasy Fest. It gets locals and visitors in the mood for the extravagant costumes, parades, and parties that define the week-long Fantasy Fest celebrations. Goombay is where one can ease into the spirit of Fantasy Fest, donning some festive colors and letting loose before the craziness that the coming week will bring.

All in, Goombay is an unforgettable celebration that brings together the diverse cultural influences in Key West. The festival can leave you with a sense of connection, not only to the island's rich history but also to the vibrant and welcoming community that calls Key West home. If you're lucky enough to visit Key West in coming years during Goombay, you'll get to experience a taste of the islands that stays with you long after the festivities have ended.

Goombay Junkanoo

Goombay Festival, Junkanoo. Photo courtesy of

So, mark your calendar and join us next October for Goombay! Tt's truly a unique that you should see at least once in your life!  


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