Grand Bahama News

Goombay Summer Festival returns to GB

Grand Bahamians and tourists alike are enjoying the return of Goombay Summer Festival after a two-year hiatus, due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

The festival is hosted by the Ministry of Tourism and held every Thursday in July on Taino Beach.

From 6 p.m. until midnight, Goombay showcases a variety of activities highlighting a vibrant and exciting Bahamian culture including local cuisine, authentic handmade Bahamian crafts, ringplay, limbo, live Bahamian music, a thrilling Junkanoo rushout and much more.  

The first night of the event, July 7, preceded the Independence Day weekend. Hundreds of Bahamians and tourists descended on the beach where they were entertained by multiple musical acts such as the extraordinary Royal Bahamian Police Force Grand Bahama District Pop Band. They danced to the sweet sound of Junkanoo music. The entertainment featured Bahamian singing sensations Veronica Bishop, Ancient Man, Sharade Taylor and The Deep South Island Boys.

“It was an amazing night. This was my first time performing at Goombay Summer Festival but it was an incredible experience to be included on the premier night. The reception of the crowd and their enjoyment of the music made me feel so welcome,” said Taylor.

Denise Timms, a new resident of the island, expressed her enjoyment of the festival.

“We had some delicious conch fritters from the Flava and Tingum booth.”   

Her friend, Darren Ramahlo, from Alabama, joined in, marveling over the Gully Wash served by Down Home Tropical.

“The Gully Wash is sweet and refreshing. It tastes so good.”

Timms added, “The beauty of the island, the culture, and the wonderful Bahamian people are the reasons that she relocated from the United States.” 

Although there were many tourists attending the event, Bahamian residents were also excited to have the summer festivals again.

Shenique Curtis said, “After two summers without Goombay, it is refreshing to finally be able to come out to Taino Beach and enjoy the festivities. My children are extremely excited to be back here.”

She also stated that she thinks “the economy needs this boost and vendors can hopefully get good sales on their items”.

The same sentiments were echoed by the vendors.

Christina Woodside, whose booth “Flava and Tingum” offers a variety of fritters including conch, guava and seafood, said that she is looking forward to the rest of the festival and beyond.

“The first week, we completely sold out because there were so many people here,” she said.

“We are hoping that we can continue to see such profit even after Goombay ends.” 

Woodside, who owns a seafood and grill pit with the same name in Goombay Park, expressed gratitude for the opportunity to share her cuisine with residents and tourists and hopes the exposure promotes her business.

Another vendor, Veronica Burrows, said “the turnout has been excellent thus far”.

Her business, Linda’s Authentic Crafts, provides one-of-a-kind pieces made of straw, shells and other materials. They also customize items upon request. She is hoping that the festival continues to see growth and get better.

Melinda Green from Triple D’s Soft Drink has also had a good experience at Goombay. Besides selling out much of her stock, she said she is excited to simply be back among people.

“Having Goombay Summer Festival this year shows that we are finally learning to coexist again since the onset of the pandemic,” Green said.

“It is evident with the amount of people that have been coming out that tourists and residents welcome the festival. The feeling of being back out on Taino Beach for Goombay is indescribable.”

According to Ian Rolle, chairman of the Grand Bahama Island Tourism Board (GBITB), “The planned entertainment lineups were a delight to many of our previous visitors. 

“We’ve seen a 78 percent engagement increase to our social media platforms once the announcement was made about the festival.  Many visitors expressed their delight and promised to either visit before the last Goombay on July 28 or are making plans to visit in 2023.”

Rolle added, “It is a part of our strategy to promote Grand Bahama Festivals and Events, helping to be a key driver of increased room occupancy on island.”

These sentiments were echoed by GBITB’s board of directors as they reviewed business forecasts for the remainder of the summer.

Goombay Summer Festival continues for the third week on July 21, while the closing ceremony will be held on July 28.

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