Authentic Music, Dance, Crafts, Food to Build Independence Excitement at Kalik’s Festival of The Bahama Islands

0
1551

Come for 10 Hours of GREAT FUN today!

Nassau, Bahamas — It was a light bulb moment, one of those that changes the landscape, fixes a piece of history.

Commonwealth Brewery executives, planners, brand managers gathered round the table to figure out the most meaningful way to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Kalik, the beer of The Bahamas, and marry it with the 40th anniversary of the Independence of The Bahamas.

“It was the word ‘celebrate’ that inspired us,” said Kalik brand manager Jannifer Thurston. “Somebody said ‘festival’ and someone else said, it’s national, all the islands have to be represented and someone else said, and it has to be family-oriented.” The idea was born — a one-day, family fun and feast of food, dance, music, demonstrations and culture festival for all the islands with mini-celebrations and a massive cultural explosion in Nassau.

That was nearly a year ago. Execs and staff flew into action, the Ministry of Youth, Sports & Culture got on board, deemed it an official event of the 40th anniversary of Independence. Coca-Cola, BTC and ZNS joined in and Kalik’s Festival of The Bahama Islands was launched. On Saturday, June 29, the 10-hour extravaganza of all things Bahamian will dominate the social scene with visitors and locals alike expected to flock to the Botanical Gardens for demonstrations, live performances, music, dance, crafts and foods from the islands, all representing elements of traditional Bahamian life.

Among the demonstrations will be the art of crab catching, said Thurston.

“We were fortunate because we were able to get Anitra Colebrooke to do the crab catching demonstration and if ever you saw a woman who makes catching crab fun and exciting it’s her,” she said.

Catching crab is to Colebrooke what reeling in the slippery bonefish is to the fly fisherman or a birdie, one under par, on a Par 3 hole to a golfer, “just pure enjoyment,”, she says. Ten years after her first crab catching experience in Andros, the confesses she’s still enchanted by “the lure of going crabbing.”

Demonstrations and performances begin at noon and continue throughout the day with Robert Bain teaching quadrille dancing.

“Telling stories through dance and movement has been a part of Bahamian heritage for centuries,” said Bain, who is organizing three quadrille dances, including an authentic piece recorded by the Smithsonian Institute. “The first time I saw the quadrille performed was in 1983 by the Cat Island Mites and I got goose bumps,” said Bain who’s been an enthusiast ever since. “The tradition goes back hundreds of years. The slaves saw the masters perform the social dances and took it back to the field slaves who started to mimic the dance and create the same sounds that they heard.”

In addition to Junknaoo costume making, straw plaiting, plaiting the maypole, cascarilla bark demo, bush tea and other demonstrations, there will be music and dance throughout the day, leading off with the Royal Bahamas Police Force, the legendary Lassie Doh Boys and a special performance organized by musician Fred Ferguson celebrating the past 40 years of Bahamian music. The hour and a half long performance by local band Tingum Dem — to be broadcast live by ZNS — will include familiar tunes that have rocked The Bahamas from 1973 until now. Ferguson views the performance as “a chance for The Bahamas to connect and recollect with music and experiences that have defined a generation of independent Bahamians.”

Doors open at 10am with the celebration’s official kick-off at 12pm. Tickets are $5 for adults and $2 for children for a full day of family-friendly fun. For more information about the Festival of The Bahama Islands, contact 397-1452 or 397-1429.