Goombay fest offers food, fun for many

Pungent aromas from the sea and rhythmic sounds surrounded the intramural field Saturday as people came to celebrate the 15th Annual Goombay Festival & Family Fun Day.

Reminiscent of a Be Out Day-style cookout, the event was sponsored by the Beta Lambda Sigma, Alpha Eta and Mu Epsilon chapters of Phi Beta Sigma, Inc. in conjunction with the FAMU Office of Student Union and Activities.

Although attendance was scarce at the beginning, crowds gradually strolled in to take advantage of the free admission and opportunity to have fun in the sun.

Around 2 p.m., the event officially kicked off with a student’s rendition of the Negro National Anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”

Keith Jones, 21, a member of the Alpha Eta chapter of Phi Beta Sigma said he noticed a better turnout this year.

“This is only the second year this festival has been in Tallahassee. It seems like more people are coming each year,” he said.

Blue and white filled the field as members of Zeta Phi Beta and Phi Beta Sigma from FAMU, Florida State University and Tallahassee Community College congregated to support the festival.

Although the Goombay festival is originally based on Bahamian culture, the musical backdrop was hip-hop. Music provided by 100.7 the Beat served as the soundtrack for the day.

The main event of the festival was the all-you-can-eat seafood buffet. For $10 patrons could feast on plates loaded with crabs, fish, baked beans, corn on-the-cob and French fries.

Tents reserved for dining were filled with people cracking crabs open or just trying to escape the overwhelming heat.

The proceeds from the seafood along with proceeds from the sale of souvenir T-shirts and various vendors will be used to purchase education materials for Oak Ridge Elementary and Leonard Wesson.

While she painted a mask at a table provided by the FAMU Center for Caribbean Culture, Holly Dean, a Nassau, Bahamas native said the event could have been better.

“I think they should have gotten more participation from other campus organizations,” she said.

Dean also said she preferred a prompt beginning.

“I didn’t like the fact that it didn’t start on time,” Dean said.

But, the 25-year-old junior said except for the tardy start, she enjoyed the Goombay festival.

Dave Bowman, particularly appreciated the weather. “It’s a real nice feel out here,” he said.

The 22-year-old junior from Detroit also said he liked the social atmosphere.

“It’s good food, good fun and there really seems to be a sense of unity out here.

Daunte Whipper said he had an enjoyable time. “Although it was really hot outside, the day was still fun.”

The 21-year-old junior said he looks forward to next year.

“I plan to come again next year and have just as much and more of a good time,” he said.

With a dunking booth, a ring toss game, a sno-cone stand, and live entertainment, the intramural field had activities for people of all ages to enjoy

Due to clear skies and sunny weather, the festival carried on without interruption. As the sun went down activities came to a close . At the end of the day, participants drifted away from the intramural field with full stomachs and smiles on their faces.

contact Jared McArthur at