Junkanoo Summer Festival 2017 celebrates all things Bahamian on opening night
Pulsating sounds, skilled dancers and vibrant colors filled Arawak Cay this past Saturday for the opening of this year’s Junkanoo Summer Festival (JSF).
Junkanoo Summer Festival, a signature event of the Ministry of Tourism and Aviation, attracted thousands of local and visitors who gathered to watch the highly anticipated choreography competition between the A and B groups. The eleven groups were challenged to come up with their own theme relating to The Islands of The Bahamas.
Not to be outdone by the vibrant Junkanoo performances, food and craft vendors were also serving something special of their own.
Cherrel Rolle of Da Point Island Delight said she particularly enjoys the opportunity of catering to locals and guests alike.
“Business hasn’t been bad at all, I’m enjoying the people and I like cooking so it’s a joy for me to cater to my Bahamian people and tourists alike. The response has been very good so far even though it’s my first time to Junkanoo Summer Festival,” she said.
Calverna Swann of Club 900 said she hoped to be successful at this year’s JSF.
“It’s my first time at JSF and I’m hoping to have a great time as a vendor. I always come and watch but this is my first time as a vendor. By the end of the night, I’ll be completely sold out,” Swann said.
Bahamian handcraft artist, Ava Forbes of Ava Forbes Creations creates handcrafted jewelry and souvenirs using sea glass, seashells and native flowers. She said the overall response to her products was outstanding.
“Business has been excellent, it isn’t my first year at JSF but festivals such as this are good for companies because it gives us exposure to the Bahamian public as well as to international visitors that come to The Bahamas and they’ve been thrilled with the products I produce,” she said.
Similarly, Christine Davis of Christine Davis Sea Glass said the interest of her products has also caught tourist’s attention.
“Seeing that this is my first time doing this, I’m really glad that I took up the opportunity to do it and I would do it again because it’s been that good. The response from the visitors have been really great because some of them don’t know what sea glass is and they’ve never seen anyone work with it before,” Davis said.
Daytime activities at JSF included a pineapple-eating contest, a watermelon eating contest and a roast corn eating competition.
Visitors were seen all around the festival enjoying the sights and the sounds. Theresa Lehmann of Pennsylvania said the last time she was in The Bahamas was more than three decades ago and she was happy to experience the sights and sounds of the festival this year.
“I was here about 35 years ago and this was my first time since. We were on Eleuthera, the last time we were here and it really hasn’t change that much, it’s still beautiful. But this is my first time in Nassau and it’s exactly what I have always been told it was; colorful, active filled with friendly people. I’m enjoying this festival very much. The Junkanoo is amazing and they’re so colorful, I’m hoping to be back very soon,” she said.
First time visitor, Kelly Snyder of Ohio said she tried all of the foods offered and she loved every one.
“The Bahamas is fantastic and the people here are so friendly, I can’t describe how friendly they are. It’s amazing, I’ve been to this festival for an hour and a half and I think I’ve tried everything from cracked lobster to I don’t even know. I’ve tried everything, I’m going to gain ten pounds here. My favorite dish however is the crab and dough, it was fantastic and the parade is fantastic, the music is wonderful, I can’t wait to see the end,” she said.
Junkanoo Summer Festivals takes a break on Saturday, July 8th for Independence Celebrations and resumes on the 15th with the Music Competition. The Overall Competition will take place on the 22nd and the results will be revealed on Saturday, July 29th.
The festival is also running nationwide. For a full schedule visit https://www.bahamas.com/junkanoo-summer-festival-2017.