Bahamas' Goombay Festival
1. Arrive early to see the demos
As with most food festivals there are demos, but the Goombay Festival has demos that are probably unusual for what US visitors are used to. The official food of the Bahamas is Conch which you will find on most restaurant menus in the Bahamas. A popular demo includes instruction on how to remove a Conch from its shell. They pick an audience member to pull the Conch right out of the shell. This is not recommended for those who are sensitive to the harming of animals.
2. Come with an appetite
Unlike festivals in the US, where they serve tastes that are a couple bites, the Goombay Festival serves full meals. So be prepared to wait for your meal to be prepared. This can take up to 10 minutes. Some of the highlights are fried Snapper and cracked Lobster (deep fried chunks of lobster). Most dishes are fried, so be aware that this is not the place to find healthy dishes. Note that vendors only accept cash.
3. Wash down the food with a Gully Wash
A concoction of coconut water, coconut milks and gin, you’ll see this drink on many many menus in the Bahamas. Plus it is the official drink of the Goombay Festival, so give it a try. However, don’t have too many as you are in a foreign country. So, always be careful not too drink too much.
4. The festivities end with a parade
Food festivals in the US usually have some entertainment, but at the Goombay Festival in the Bahamas, the parade is the highlight of the festival, culminating is a fun evening of music and dancing. There are costumed dancers wearing bright festive clothing and a marching band playing lively music. Attendees don’t need to stand on the sidelines, in fact, they are invited to take part in the celebration and jump right in and start dancing. Bring your dancing shoes!
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