Goombay wraps up 30th year

ASHEVILLE – The 2011 edition of the African-Caribbean “Goombay!” festival once again drew hundreds of people to the Eagle/Market Streets area, the historic heart of Asheville’s black community.

Each year for three days, Goombay fills Eagle and Market – also called The Block – with marching bands, African-America dancers, stilt walkers, as well as gospel, reggae and contemporary R&B singers.

This year, music was also staged on the Roger McGuire Green, in the heart of City/County Plaza.

Goombay vendors sell everything from jerk chicken, to fried whitefish, lemonade and fried Twinkies, in addition to handmade crafts, soaps and colorful clothing.

Goombay, according to organizers, is as a cultural expression of a people who endured slavery in Bermuda, and who also have roots in Africa and the West Indies. Goombay is actually a form of Bahamian music and a drum used to create it. The goombay drum is a membranophone – an instrument that produces sound primarily through a vibrating stretched membrane – with one goat skin head held between the legs and played with the hands or sticks.

Asheville’s Goombay festival receives support from the City of Asheville, Buncombe County, Budweiser, Pepsi, Progress Energy, Mission Health System, MEDIC, Home Depot, BP Solutions, Fraternal Order of Police (Asheville Lodge #1), TD Bank, Alsco Linens & McGill Associates.

Goombay is made possible with support from the Friends of the YMI, as well as newer partnerships with organizations including Asheville City Market, Clear Channel Radio, UNC Asheville, Asheville

GreenWorks, GO!, WNC Alliance, Limones and Simma Down Caribbean Cafe.

Also this year, Asheville Greenworks and Danny’s Dumpsters partnered to make recycling a new part of the festival’s tradition.

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