Goombay Summer Celebrates Golden Knights
The Bahamas’ Golden Knights will be given a “down home” reception during this weekend’s Goombay Summer Festival in recognition of their gold medal accomplishment at the Olympic Games.
The men’s 4 by 400 metre relay team will be the guests of honour at Friday’s Street party at Woodes Rogers Walk. A special programme is planned for 7:30pm, the Ministry of Tourism has confirmed.
Local radio personalities, actors and other Bahamian entertainers have been engaged for the event, which will kick off this weekend’s Goombay Summer Festival.
Friday’s festivities begin at noon and end at 11pm with the relay team’s appearance being a featured part of the day’s activities, Ministry of Tourism officials said.
The popular Goombay Summer Festival will continue at Junkanoo Beach on Saturday.
Woodes Rogers Walk and the former Long Wharf Beach last weekend rocked to the beat of the first of three Goombay Summer events slated for this month, with special performances from top Bahamian artists.
Against the backdrop of picturesque Nassau Harbour adorned with towering cruise ships, residents and tourists joined hands and hearts in celebration of Bahamian culture.
Introduced in the 1970s, Goombay Summer is a Ministry of Tourism promotion. It became an immediate hit among residents and tourists, inspiring popular Bahamian songs.
Click to enlarge. Gallery photos by BIS photo/Derek Smith
“I was especially pleased to learn from straw vendors about the high level of sales realised as a result of Goombay Summer and that last Friday was one of the best days they have had a long while,” said Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe.
“Stalls remained open until 10pm to serve cruise passengers who came back to shore to visit the festival after dinner.”
Goombay Summer is a manifestation of the linkages that make up the tourism product, he observed.
“I was heartened to see the number of people employed in the production from the bands, strolling musicians and circus acts, colourful mascots, the blending of local vendors with retailers, the Goombay Dancers, electricians, plumbers and so on,” he said. “And then to watch Bahamians dancing with visitors in the street, it was wonderful to see.”
“We are delighted to reintroduce Goombay Summer this year as we lead into the 40th Anniversary of Independence,” said Janet Johnson, Ministry of Tourism’s event coordinator.
“There are lots of young people who were not familiar with Goombay Summer, but they loved it nevertheless. And those who were there in the ’70s and know it, were thrilled to see the Goombay Dancers,” Miss Johnson said.
Of last weekend’s three events, she said, the street party at Woodes Rogers Walk on Friday and the beach party at Junkanoo Beach on Saturday “were by far the most successful, with Bahamians and visitors integrating beautifully and enjoying themselves to the goombay beat,” said Miss Johnson.
“This week we will focus on these two venues by extending the hours and expanding the entertainment. It’s going to be so good and Bahamians should come out and be a part of it.”
There is no charge to attend any of the Goombay Summer events.
Performers include Lassie Doe Boys, the Long Island Connection, Ira Storr and the Spank Band.
Patrons will also be treated to traditional limbo and fire dancing, circus acts, and Junkanoo rush-outs.
So that they can be a part of the festivities, retailers are encouraged to create new Goombay drinks and if they have a street front location, to create a sidewalk cafe.
All events are monitored throughout by the Royal Bahamas Police Force and a private security firm. Barricades are erected along the water’s edge to prevent mishaps. Ambulance services, a medical station, and port-a-lets with wash stands are provided.
“It is only fitting, on the eve of the 40th anniversary of Independence that we capitalise on the equity in the brand and bring it back with flourish and some modern touches,” said Miss Johnson.
By Gladstone Thurston
Bahamas Information Services