Residents and visitors of The Islands Of The Bahamas are treated to the return of the hottest competitions and festivals of the summer. Celebrating the 40th anniversary of the slogan “It's Better In The Bahamas” the Ministry of Tourism presents Junkanoo Summer Festival. This thrilling event, which is a miniature festival of the Bahamian winter festival Junkanoo, is held on Saturdays during July at Arawak Cay, Nassau.
Each week brings an electrifying competition: SATURDAY, JULY 16th Junkanoo Choregraphy & Dance Competition, SATURDAY, JULY 23rd Junkanoo Costume & Overall Performance is judged, SATURDAY, JULY 30th The Finale of the Junkanoo Summer Festival combines the Award ceremony and All Bahamian Concert.
The mixture of thunderous music, explosions of colourful, eye-catching costumes and magnetic choreography are the focal points of the Junkanoo Summer activities. Twelve groups of Junkanoo artists compete for top prizes in music, costumes, choreography and overall best performance. There are also individual competitions in best 'beller' (cow bell player), drummer, and king and queen of Junkanoo.
Every Saturday festival kicks off at noon with mouth-watering dishes from over 30 Bahamian food vendors. Additionally, authentic Bahamian souvenirs can be bought – from straw bags and jewellery to Bahamian artwork. A kiddie corner features a number of Bahamian games including sack races, pony and horse rides, egg and spoon races amongst others.
There are also fun games for the adults with corn, watermelon and pineapple eating, conch cracking and Andros crab catching competitions. The crowd will also be wowed by performances from the military marching bands –the Royal Bahamas Police Force and the Royal Bahamas Defence Force.
In August Goombay Summer Festival continues the summer fun every Friday. *Goombay, a signature event of the Ministry of Tourism, is a family fun-filled event that includes rhythmic dancing, fun competitions, a kiddie corner and all Bahamian concerts. Goombay is also held at Arawak Cay. Junkanoo Summer and Goombay festivals are echoed around the 16 main Islands Of The Bahamas.
*Goombay is a form of Bahamian music and a drum used to create it. The goombay drum is a membranophone with one goat skin drum held between the legs and played with the hands or sticks. The Goombay name has also evolved to become synonymous with local African-American music related to calypso. In Bahamas, its most famous practitioner in modern times was Alphonso 'Blind Blake' Higgs, who performed at the Nassau International Airport for many years.