clayton-lopez-web_copy.jpgKEY WEST – It’s still more than a month away but South Florida already is gearing up for this year’s Goombay Festival of island arts and crafts, music and food in the heart of Key West’s historic Bahama Village neighborhood.

Even Commissioner Clayton Lopez and his calypso- and soca-playing band have been known to provide some of the live entertainment for the two day cultural showcase  that returns October 18 – 19.

Officials say contracting for this year’s entertainment is still in progress, and vendors too are invited. For more details visit The Goombay fest is centered around Petronia Street in Bahama Village, just off Key West’s legendary Duval Street.

Each year the event attracts tens of thousands of people who view and purchase African arts and crafts, sample foods and delicacies from a variety of cultures and countries, and enjoy live musical entertainment ranging from gospel to reggae.

The weekend event, first celebrated in the early 1970s as the Island Roots Heritage Food and Street Fair, marks the beginning of Fantasy Fest, the island city’s world-famous, 10-day costume gala.

The Goombay festival, held in one of the eldest African-American communities in South Florida, spotlights the ethnic diversity of Key West.