Small bites: Goombay Festival celebrates diversity in the mountains

COMING BACK FOR MORE: Green Opportunities will participate again at this year's Goombay Festival. The organization is bringing its new Southside Soul food truck to the event. Pictured, from left, are Jammie Wright, Shakur Shabazz, Kierra Byers, Christine Carter, Guy Stivender and Royetta Davidson. Photo by Gwen Hill

For the last 36 years, the Goombay Festival has sought to highlight African and Caribbean heritage in Western North Carolina. “It’s a great opportunity for us to showcase what we bring to the table as a community in Asheville,” says Aisha Adams, the festival’s coordinator. This year’s event will continue this mission, with food vendors, dancers, musicians and speakers coming together for the two-day festival at Pack Square Park on Friday, Sept. 8, and Saturday, Sept 9.

Chef Ramona Young launched her catering business, Kente Kitchen, at the festival in 2014. Since then, she has continued to offer her menu of Liberian, Nigerian and Ghanaian dishes each year at the celebration. When it comes to African foods, Young says, “There are a lot of flavors we aren’t accustomed to [in the U.S.]. We use a lot of heat. But it’s not about the heat level. It’s about the flavor of the pepper that is utilized in African cooking.”

This year, Young will stay behind the scenes, coordinating Goombay’s food vendors with an eye toward highlighting WNC’s diverse culinary talents. “We are nothing like the ordinary,” she says of participants at this year’s event. “We are unique, original and different. I think everyone needs to come and experience Asheville on that level.”

At press time, Smoky Mountain Corn Roasters, Delia’s Tea Time, Gripps Grills, MacDaddy’s Organic Lemonade, Miss P’s Cateringz and Delicious Dogz and Green Opportunities were among the participating food vendors. Along with African fare, guests can anticipate Jamaican, vegan, soul food and classic festival funnel cake options. “African and Caribbean food is always flavorful,” says Adams. “We have a lot of bold tastes, as we are a bold people.”

Mayor Esther Manheimer will offer remarks at the event, as will Carmen Ramos-Kennedy, president of the local chapter of the NAACP. Other highlights will include spoken word performances and drum sessions, as well as live jazz and reggae bands

“I hope that people will walk away with a sense of excitement for everything that we have to offer in the community and a better understanding of who is in the community and what their talents are,” says Adams. “[Goombay Festival] is really an opportunity to find out who and what is happening right here in Asheville.”

Goombay Festival runs 6-9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 8, and noon-9 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 9, at Pack Square Park. Admission is free. For more information, visit

Harvest Moon Flower Dinner

Lady Luck Flower Farm will host a Harvest Moon Flower Dinner on Saturday, Sept. 9. The evening’s menu, prepared by Ashley Cort of OWL Bakery, will feature Blackthorn Farm lamb and heirloom vegetable pie (vegetarian and vegan options available), harvest salad with wild berry vinaigrette, cultured buttermilk cucumber salad and heritage apple crumble with spiced crème fraiche. There will be a bonfire and flowers will be available for guests to pick and take home. The event will also include beer from Burial Beer Co. A portion of ticket sales will benefit the Center for Participatory Change, a local organization that works to heal communities and transform systems of oppression.

Harvest Moon Flower Dinner runs 6-10 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 9, at Lady Luck Flower Farm, 55 Lanzi Ledge Road, Leicester. Tickets are $80 and are available at To learn more about the Center for Participatory Change, visit

Grill & Chill 101

Catawba Brewing will host a Sunday cookout on Sunday, Sept. 10, with The American Pig, a local boutique charcuterie business. The event will feature three rounds of bites and beers, along with tips and tricks for grilling. Courses will include grilled cheese with Black Dome Stout and pancetta marmalade paired with ENO Pilsner, beer bratwurst cooked with Catawba Festbier paired with Astral Bootie Beer Session IPA, and pork chops with Brown Bear Brown Ale pan sauce paired with Brown Bear Ale.

Grill & Chill 101 runs 2-4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 10, at Catawba Brewing Co.’s South Slope Tasting Room and Brewery, 32 Banks Ave. Tickets are $30 and are available at

Olivette Farm-to-Table Dinner

Olivette Riverside Community and Farm will host a farm-to-table dinner on Sunday, Sept. 10, to benefit Asheville GreenWorks, an organization that engages with the community through grassroots environmental projects. The meal will include craft cocktails and five food courses created by Over Easy Café with dessert prepared by 50/Fifty: Art of Dessert. Jessie Langlais will provide musical entertainment for the evening. For every five tickets sold, one free meal will be included for an Asheville GreenWorks employee.

Olivette Farm to Table Dinner runs 5-8 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 10, 31 White Rose Lane. Tickets are $75 each, plus tax and service charges. For tickets, visit

Cones with a Cause

The Hop Ice Cream Café will host Cones with a Cause and Multiple Sclerosis Art Show on Tuesday, Sept. 12. The event will benefit the MS Community of WNC Awareness Group and the Greater Carolinas Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. The exhibit will feature artwork created by those affected by the disease.

Cones with a Cause and the Multiple Sclerosis Art Show runs 6-9 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 12, at The Hop Ice Cream Café, 640 Merrion Ave. Those interested in sharing their artwork at the event should contact Leslie Klein Newman at

Taste of Spain at La Guinguette

La Guinguette will host a five-course wine dinner on Thursday, Sept. 14, highlighting the food and wine of Spain. The evening begins with a Champagne reception and hors d’oeuvres followed by a dinner menu featuring gazpacho; cod fritters with piquillo pepper sauce; fabada, a Spanish bean stew with chorizo; San Jacobos, chicken stuffed with ham and cheese; and churros con chocolate. Wines will be paired with each course. This is the first of a series of dinners to be hosted the second Tuesday of each month spotlighting the cuisine of different countries.

Taste of Spain begins at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 14, at La Guinguette, 105 Richardson Blvd., Black Mountain. Tickets are $65 per person plus tax and gratuity. For details and tickets, visit



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About Thomas Calder
Thomas Calder received his MFA in Fiction from the University of Houston's Creative Writing Program. His writing has appeared in Gulf Coast, the Miracle Monocle, Juked and elsewhere. His debut novel, The Wind Under the Door, is now available.

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