Get ready for Junkanoo on Grand Bahama

The major Junkanoo parades may still be six months away but for people ‘jonesing’ for some early Junkanoo action, then you need to make plans to travel to Grand Bahama for its annual Summer Junkanoo Festival—Chakara Bennett reports in this article for Nassau’s Guardian.

From K.B., Veronica Bishop and Stileet to the down-home sounds of Wilfred Solomon and the Magnetics, Joe Cartwright and Trouble and the rake and scrape legends the Deep South Island Boys the live entertainment will only be the beginning of the excitement people will find at this year’s festival.

“We are really aiming to make this a family event. It’s been a success year after year and this year is no different,” said Andre Cartwright, public relations officer of the event. “We are looking to attract thousands of people and make this year’s festival the best yet. We have so much planned from cultural shows, food galore, drinks and treats and of course the Junkanoo rush-out and entertainment.

“This will be an authentically Bahamian event and you will not want to miss out on it.”

Junkanoo Summer Festival is an event that aims to highlight the unique culture in The Bahamas and share it with locals and visitors alike. In recent years the iconic festival that used to be a New Providence staple has spread to the islands and been adapted to their unique cultures.

According to organizers, the authenticity of the festival makes the Grand Bahama version different.

“When you think about these festivals you may only imagine that it’s about showing off who we are, but it is about so much more than that,” said Cartwright.

“We want people to have fun and enjoy the event but they also should learn something new.

“Which is why we have lots of demonstrations set to take place during every evening of festivities.

“You can look forward to a conch cracking demonstration, coconut barking, straw plaiting, conch salad making and even Bahamian dancing.

“So really since lots of young people don’t know too much about some of these things or the older folks don’t do it too much either, it will be a learning experience for everyone.”

To keep the youngsters occupied a playground section of the park will be set up just for them.

They will be able to play on swings, slides and see-saws under close supervision while parents enjoy the park’s many offerings.

Organizers say this will truly be a family-oriented experience and everyone will have a fond memory to take away at the end of the day.

Fashions by Grand Bahamian designers will also take place at this year’s festival.

Other cultural elements to look forward to at the event will be the cultural dances like the quadrille that will be put on by school children.

A fire dance and limbo performance will also be must-sees for the festival.

And of course, many people attend festivals for the unique food options they offer and the Grand Bahama Junkanoo festival will be no different as a wide array of delicacies will be offered.

“People can look forward to lots of seafood dishes like fish, conch, shrimp and the like prepared in an abundance of ways,” said Cartwright.

“For those who like the traditional dishes, of course, ribs, chicken, grilled foods and conch salad will be available.

“We will have lots of barbecuing and roasting going on as well. And drinks will be family friendly, so no alcoholic beverages, but lots of soft drinks like sodas and daiquiris will be available.”

The beauty of the festival is that although people go for the fun and excitement of the event they can stay for the relaxation and island feel Grand Bahama offers with its beaches, tranquil environment and friendly people.

The festival will be held every Thursday in July on the Taino Beach park starting at 5 p.m.

Junkanoo Summer Festival

When: Thursday, July 5, 12, 19

Where: Taino Beach, Free-port

Time: 5 p.m. – midnight every Thursday

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