Strike yuh drum, Mr. Drummer! The sound of the tambourine echoes as the drum pulsates, merging with the voices and movements of the colorfully clad community. Footwork is everything. But one woman sits holding her pregnant belly, a flower in her hair, Tobago’s Amerindian, African, and European heritages all apparent in her face. And for two weeks every summer since 1986, Tobagonians have taken time to remember and celebrate some of the traditions of old. The annual festival includes traditional courtship rituals—in which a young man who wishes to marry must argue his worth to the woman’s father in writing and be prepared to chop the hardest pieces of wood and to bring his beloved a big bunch of plantains—and the Ole Time Tobago Wedding—in which the men dress dapperly in scissor-tail coats and top hats and the women wear satin gowns. Also celebrated are Tobagonian folk tales and superstitions—mysterious black-and-blue welts found on your skin in the morning could mean you’re being sucked by a soucouyant, a woman who sheds her skin at night and transforms into a ball of fire—and the 19th-century Belmanna Riots, spurred by oppressive working conditions on the Roxborough Estate plantation. At tonight’s Tobago Heritage Festival Extravaganza, a contingent of the Tobagonian festival’s performers will present a taste of the culture outside their native country for the first time. The festivities, which include dance performances, storytelling, and craft exhibits, begin at 8 p.m. Friday, May 7, at the Wyndham City Center Hotel’s New Hampshire Ballroom, 1143 New Hampshire Ave. NW. $15. (202) 291-4070. (Ayesha Morris)