THE YMI Cultural Center presents The 27th Annual Goombay! Festival

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‘The Block Gazette’
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Goombay Photos: Urban News Archives

GOOMBAY,
an African Caribbean Festival in downtown Asheville, NC, will take
place the weekend of August 22-24, 2008, along Eagle and Market
Streets, the heart of Asheville’s historic African-American business
district, The Block.

from Staff Reports

The YMI
Cultural Center in Asheville, NC, will host the 27th annual Goombay
festival over the weekend of August 22 – 24, 2008. Located in the
center of Asheville’s historic African-American district, The Block,
the festival begins at 1:00 p.m. Friday, Aug. 22 with an opening
ceremony, followed at 2:00 p.m. by a concert performance featuring the
renowned Chuck Beattie Blues Band, one of Asheville’s most popular
performing groups, on the mainstage. Friday evening’s headline
performers at 8:30 p.m. are Reggae Infinity with special guest Zema.

Saturday’s
events begin at 9:00 a.m. with the second annual 5K walk through
downtown Asheville. At noon the annual Goombay parade, featuring the
acclaimed Free Spirit stilt walkers and the Darrell Rose drummers and
dancers, will lead from Pack Square to South Market and Eagle Streets,
the heart of the festival. Among the performers on Saturday will be the
Otesha Creative Arts Ensemble at 2:00 p.m. and, from 8:00 to 9:30, the
rhythm and blues band Brick.

Sunday begins
with an 11:00 a.m. outdoor worship service followed by a gospel music
concert at 1:00 p.m. featuring the Weston Brothers and Friends, B-Wise,
a Christian rap group, and The Brothers of Faith. Also on Sunday
Stanley Baird will perform jazz with his well-known Stanley Baird Jazz
Band.

Goombay.jpgThroughout
the weekend, vendors will offer a wide variety of traditional
Caribbean, African, and southern foods, including such specialties as
pulled pork, alligator, and roast goat meat. Festival-goers can also
buy traditional African carvings and crafts as well as contemporary
art, clothing, and craftwares. A children’s play area in a recreated
African village includes face-painting and a variety of family
activities.

Goombay
originated in Bermuda and various Caribbean islands, where slaves were
permitted to celebrate as free citizens for one day each year. Known in
the Bahamas as “goombay” and in Jamaica as “gumbay,” the name is
derived from a traditional skin-covered African drum called a “gomba”
or “gombey.”

Asheville’s
first Goombay celebration in 1982 was sponsored by the Friends of the
YMI at the urging of Gloria Howard Free, who had learned about Goombay
while she was attending a sorority event in Florida.

After several
years of lobbying, she persuaded the Friends to sponsor the festival as
a way to raise funds and motivate the community to support the YMICC.

Asheville’s
Goombay celebration now attracts more than 35,000 visitors each August.
For Goombay 2008, attendees are urged to wear their souvenir T-shirts
from previous festivals throughout the weekend.

The YMICC is
a member organization of Pack Place Education, Art & Science Center
in downtown Asheville and is supported in part by grants from the NC
Arts Council. Goombay is cosponsored by many of Asheville’s leading
businesses, organizations, and institutions, as well as the City of
Asheville and Buncombe County. Sponsors for 2008 include the Grove Park
Inn, Resort and Spa, Wachovia Bank, Progress Energy, Pepsi, Western
Union/BiLo, Mission Hospitals, and the AKA Sorority.

YMI_web_logo.jpgGoombay5.jpgThe
YMI Cultural Center, located at 39 S. Market Street in downtown
Asheville, has honored and celebrated Western North Carolina’s diverse
cultural heritage and history for more than a century. It includes art
galleries featuring the work of nationally renowned as well as regional
artists, and its collections and historical exhibits reflect the
history of African-Americans and other minorities in Western North
Carolina.  

Goombay is
sponsored by the YMI Cultural Center, the nation’s oldest free-standing
black history center, celebrating African-American culture and heritage
since 1892. For more information on Goombay 2008 and current YMI
exhibits, call (828) 252-4614 or visit the YMI web site at www.ymicc.org .

Asheville
45°
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Feels like: 41°F
Wind: 5mph NW
Humidity: 32%
Pressure: 30.21"Hg
UV index: 1
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