Island Festivals Offer Vibrant Cultural Displays

From Abaco in the north to Aruba in the south, the Caribbean abounds in festivals and fun this year. Here’s a sampling of the events awaiting visitors through July.

  • Curacao Carnival, which runs through March 5, features tumba, a musical rhythm of African origin that was introduced in Aruba and Curacao in the 17th century. The carnival culminates with the Farewell Carnival Parade the day before Lent begins.
  • Mas Domnik (The Real Mas) on Dominica is a pre-Lenten festival March 4 and 5 where the streets come alive with revelry, color and costumes set off by bouyon, a musical style that originated on the island.
  • The British Virgin Islands Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival from March 25 to 31 will offer seven days of warm waters, hot racing and cool parties. More than 150 yachts from around the world are expected to unfurl their sails and race on three courses in and around the islands.
  • Curacao Culinair on April 5 and 6 is the island’s biggest open-air culinary event; it’s held in Landhuis Chobolobo, home of Blue Curacao liqueur. Chefs from local restaurants and resorts showcase their signature dishes and new plates.
  • The Oistins Fish Festival in Barbados, April 20 to 22, takes place every Easter weekend in the fishing village of Oistins on the south coast. Billed as the largest community festival on the island, the festival offers activities and fun for all ages.
  • The Uncorked Wine & Beer Festival on Grenada on May 4 invites attendees to toast the good life and sip and savor pairings with fruits, cheeses, meats and sweets.
  • Two Seasons Talking Trees Literary Festival, now in its fifth year, is set for May 27 and 28 in Treasure Beach, Jamaica, with readings by established and emerging writers and poets.
  • The International Festival of Hiking from June 1 to 23 in Martinique offers 30 miles of trails covering walks and hikes in the countryside, on the beaches, along the coast and deep in the island’s lush interior.
  • Welches Fest, June 10 in Anguilla, takes place on the ballfield in Welches Village on Whit Monday every year. Visitors can begin the day with a breakfast of flour pap, a kind of porridge, and throughout the day indulge in other foods, drinks, games and music that reflect Anguilla’s traditions and lore.
  • Vincy Mas, June 29 to July 9, on St. Vincent and the Grenadines, is an explosion of color, sound and movement as islanders celebrate their annual Carnival event with steel pan music, calypso and revelry.
  • St. Lucia’s Carnival starts in June and features competitions, community events, parties and fetes and culminates with the Parade of the Bands from July 12 to 16 that morphs into a flurry of chrome-plated steel drums, feathers and costumes in the streets of Soufriere.
  • The Calabash Festival July 14 to 21 on Montserrat includes a family fun day, hikes, island tours, an African fashion show, coastal excursions to the former capital of Plymouth and a craft and food fair.
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For a complete calendar of events, visit www.onecaribbean.org.

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