Great time last night! Fantasy Fest has arrived! Goombay!
Goombay is a Caribbean street festival. Food, music and drink. And tons of people.
When I was a kid, I lived in East Utica. The Italian section of the city. There was a similar street festival every year.
It was called the Feast of Saints Cosmo and Damien. Just like Goombay, but everything Italian. Goombay took me back to the Italian feasts of my youth.
Everything was perfect last night. Including the weather. A bit on the cool side. A relief when you were in the middle of a jam packed street with tons of body heat surrounding you.
The evening started at the old Crabby Dick’s on Duval. I was meeting Don and a bunch from Don’s Place.
Crabby Dick’s has reopened and is now known as the Bilmar Station. I asked, but could not get an answer as to where the name came from.
Bilmar Station is a sports bar. The booze is reasonably priced. The menu interesting and cheap. Large heated salted pretzels went over big last night. And locals get a discount.
Jerry Freshko is the general manager. He is originally from Orange County in New York. Near Newburgh. A good guy with a good personality.
We were a pretty large group. Don and Stephanie. Michael and Nancy. Jimmy and Joanie. David. Keith and his girl friend. Jules. And others.
We had a few drinks preparatory to the street walk.
Goombay is held in a several block area of Petronia Street.
Our group was too large to make the trip together. Too many people. We had agreed to meet at Blue Heaven when each of us was done wandering around. Blue Heaven is at the other end of Petronia Street. A perfect location to reunite.
I met tons of people I knew along the way. One was Jean Thornton and her husband Joe. Love Jean! Saw many faces I had seen in a while.
There is only so much I can take of a crowded street scene. Especially since I am a bit claustrophobic. So I was the first to arrive at Blue Heaven.
The place was packed tight! No relief from claustrophobia.
Blue heaven is an outside restaurant and bar.
Somehow I lucked out and immediately grabbed an empty corner seat at the bar. The right place at the right time sort of thing.
I was wearing a Key West Lou T-shirt that Lisa had made up for sale on her internet department store Via Key West. Some guy was starring at me from about ten feet away. He came over to talk. His name was Harry and he was from Cleveland. He asked if I read Key West Lou. He told me he reads it every day. I told him I was Key West Lou! He brought the wife and another couple over to chat. Nice people.
Harry visits Key West a couple of times a year. At some point, he and his wife will buy here. They love Key West!
At one point a young girl came up to the bar and stood next to me. All of 12 or 13 years old. Turned out to be Donna Barnett’s granddaughter. Her mother is a manager at Blue Heaven. Donna’s granddaughter remembered me from a Jewish holiday I celebrated at her home and dinner parties at grandma Donna’s home.
Don and the rest of the crew finally showed up. Jimmy and Joanie were lugging a heavy dark statue of an African woman. Joanie told me she once was in Ghana. The statue cost them $50. The vendor initially wanted $500. Not typical of Key West. I have to believe the vendor was from outside the area.
I stayed a couple of hours and had a wonderful time drinking and chatting with everyone. Then I had it! I said my good nights and headed to my car. Which was parked many blocks away! The walk did me good. I drove home with the top down. And would you believe, it was only 11 o’clock when I climbed into bed.
I have to huistle now. Babysitting this morning. Lisa is getting her hair done and Corey has to work.
Remember to take a look at Lisa’s internet Key West department store. www.viakeywest.com.
Talk with you tomorrow!