Small bites: Goombay brings it back to The Block

ON THE BLOCK: This year's Goombay Celebration looks to highlight and honor the legacy of The Block, says Ramona Young, local chef and community organizer. Photo courtesy of Young

Location is key for this year’s Goombay Celebration, says Ramona Young, local community organizer and owner of The Kente Kitchen Catering Co. “We wanted to bring it back to where it originated from,” she explains. Specifically, Young notes, that place of origin is The Block — the heart of Asheville’s former African American business district.

The gathering, which runs Friday-Sunday, Sept. 20-22, is free to attend and will take place exclusively on Market Street, with food vendors and performers setting up between Eagle and Sycamore streets. The celebration is hosted in partnership with the YMI Cultural Center and civic nonprofit organization Just Folks.

Soul food, Caribbean cuisine and West African bites will be served at the event by vendors including Taste of International, Caribbean Passion and Grill Jamaica, among many others. Family-friendly music will also be performed.

When it comes to Asheville’s historically black neighborhoods, “so much has changed,” says Young, who was born and raised in Asheville. “There has been so much gentrification.” The latest Goombay, she continues, is a concerted effort to honor and celebrate The Block’s legacy.

It’s also a chance for residents throughout the city to come together. “Let’s celebrate,” says Young. “Let’s learn more about each other. And let’s better understand each other.”

The Goombay Celebration runs Friday-Sunday, Sept. 20-22. Hours vary. For specific times and additional information, visit

Potluck picnic with ABFPC

The Asheville Buncombe Food Policy Council invites community members to a potluck picnic on Thursday, Sept. 26, at Carrier Park Pavilion. The event will offer a chance to learn about the organization and its new leadership and working structure. RSVPs are required by Thursday, Sept. 19. Attendees are asked to bring a dish to share along with their own plates, utensils and water bottle.

The potluck runs 5-7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 26, rain or shine at Carrier Park Pavilion, 180 Amboy Road. To RSVP, visit

Fiesta Hendersonville

“At Fiesta Hendersonville, we like to think outside the taco,” says Adriana Chavela, founder of Hola Carolina Magazine, which co-sponsors the event. Empanadas, tamales, chicharrones, crepas and quesadillas are among the many food options that will be available at the afternoon festival. In addition to cuisine, Latin American music and art will also be performed and on display. Over 20 countries will be represented at the gathering. “We’re proud of our tacos and burritos, but Latin cuisine is incredibly diverse and shares many commonalities,” Chavela notes. “We want our community to taste and experience the incredibly diverse flavor of Latin America.”

Fiesta Hendersonville runs noon-7 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 22, at the Hendersonville Visitor Center, 201 S. Main St., Hendersonville. For more information, visit

Intro to gongfu cha

Gongfu cha is a traditional Chinese style of preparing and pouring tea. “It translates to ‘making tea with skill,’” explains Dobra Tea General Manager Miles Cramer. On Sunday, Sept. 22, the local teahouse will host a workshop on the pouring style, led by Mary Cotterman, at its downtown store. Tickets are $20. According to Cramer, for two years, Cotterman lived in Chaozhou, a region of the Guangdong Province of China, where she studied gongfu cha. “This is a great opportunity for people to learn about a traditional style of tea ceremony that has been developed for over 500 years,” says Cramer.

The class runs 9-11 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 22, at Dobra Tea, 78 N. Lexington Ave. For tickets, visit

Chai Pani turns 10

Chai Pani will celebrate its 10-year anniversary on Sunday, Sept. 22, with a street party outside the restaurant’s downtown location. The event will include Bollywood music and dancing, chaat from Chai Pani, henna artists, complimentary rickshaw rides and a free photo booth station. DJ MUZ will provide music.

The revelry runs noon-4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 22, outside Chai Pani, 22 Battery Park Ave. For more information, visit

Farm-to-Table Dinner on the Quad

UNC Asheville will host its fifth annual Farm-to-Table Dinner on the Quad on Monday, Sept. 23. The evening meal will feature campus-grown and local produce as well as wild and indigenous foods. Tickets are $25 for residents and $10 for UNCA students. Mko’Mosé (Andrew Judge) will guest-host the event. A professor and coordinator of indigenous studies at Conestoga College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning in Ontario, Canada, Mko’Mosè is also the keynote lecturer at UNCA’s fall 2019 Greenfest, which takes place the following day, Tuesday, Sept. 24, in the Highsmith Student Union Blue Ridge Room. The 7 p.m. talk, A Meditation on Remembering What It Means to be Human: Knowledge for a Changing Climate, is free and open to the public.

Dinner runs 5:30-8:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 23, at UNCA’s main quad, 1 University Heights. To purchase tickets, visit

Late nights at White Moon

Earlier this month, White Moon, a cafe and wine bar in Sylva, announced plans to expand its hours and menu options. “We want to focus on other products we care about as much as coffee,” says co-owner Cecelia White. In addition to its regular breakfast and lunch options, wine and small plates are now available during the eatery’s new evening hours, Tuesday-Saturday 5:30-10:30 p.m. Beverage options include French, Italian and Spanish wines. Meanwhile, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine make up much of the venue’s new small plates. “We hope to offer a unique experience to the community,” says White. “Something that you can’t find anywhere else nearby.”

White Moon is at 545 Mill St., Sylva. For more on hours and menu options, visit


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About Thomas Calder
Thomas Calder received his MFA in Fiction from the University of Houston's Creative Writing Program. He has worked with several publications, including Gulf Coast and the Collagist.

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5 thoughts on “Small bites: Goombay brings it back to The Block

    • Virginia Daffron

      Hi Rachael,

      I don’t know whether any of the Peace Day events were related to food, which is the focus of this column.

      We have posted more than one press release related to this year’s peace day events on the Community Bulletin section of the Mountain Xpress website, and we covered the selection of Said Abdallah as peacemaker of the year in our Sept. 18 issue on page 15.

      • Rachael Bliss

        Why wasn’t it included with all the groups working on Climate Change/Action? That’s our theme this year. That’s main reason we chose Said over many other nominations was because he ties peace and climate action as two important elements for the future of our planet. I appreciate the running of my letter. This is our Tenth Annual year of bringing peace to our community. What can we do to get more presence in the Mountain Xpress?

        • Virginia Daffron

          Hi Rachael, we value the peace day events and appreciate the work you and other organizers do to bring them to the community. I’m glad we have been able to cover them online, in our community calendar in print and in our news section in print.

          It’s challenging to reflect all of the great grassroots activism in our community, and we know we’ll never have the staff resources or space in the print edition to cover everything. Thank you for sharing your news with us.

          My best,

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