More Than Just A Carnival
PHOTO: Shopping for crafts and trinkets (Courtesy the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism)
Twenty two-year-old American visitor Jacqueline Kubik said she and her sister came to The Bahamas to immerse themselves in the Bahamian culture and to try local cuisine.
When she purchased her ticket to Nassau months ago, she had no idea that Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival would be taking place the same week that she would in town. But as Kubik sat in the Cultural Village at Arawak Cay during a basket weaving session with Andros native Norma Knowles, she said it must have been fate that brought her to the country during the festival weekend.
“I love it,” she said as she sewed pieces of straw together.
“I’m finding it harder than I thought because she (Norma) made it look so easy, but yeah, I’m getting the hang of it. I’ve always been interested in craft, knitting and sewing and I just enjoy learning how other people do things.”
Kubik said she visited a number of the cultural booths including the Junkanoo pasting, straw plaiting, wood carving and hair braiding.
“I love it. The people here are so friendly,” she gushed. “I think I talked to about ten people that came up to me and told me where I should eat and where I should go and we’ve tried a couple different dishes here. We tried the conch salad. We loved it. We really enjoyed it.”
Kubik’s sister, 27-year-old Kristin Kubik, who had an easier time with the basket weaving, said she’s already thinking about coming back next year for the third annual Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival.
“We actually heard about the carnival from the customs officer at the airport,” she said. “He said, ‘are you here for the carnival’? And we said, ‘what carnival’. We didn’t really know about it. So it was perfect. We just kind of planned it perfectly.
“I’m loving it,” she added referring to the cultural village. “We love learning about different cultures so we always try and go on a vacation where we can submerge ourselves in a different culture. This has been great. Everyone has been really friendly in teaching us new things and we learned a lot.
The Kubiks spent hours at the cultural village on Friday.
“Hopefully we learned a little of everyone,” the older sister said. “I would come back next year and take some friends with us.”
Sarah Pillsbury, 22, of Michigan, a first time visitor, said she had so much fun, she’s also thinking about returning and participating fully in carnival. Although she didn’t sign up for Road Fever this time around, Pillsbury did take part in a number of carnival activities.
She said the most noteworthy was the Cat Island Watermelon Competition.
With her hand behind her back, Pillsbury chowed into two watermelons and managed to place third.
“It’s fantastic. It was a lot of fun,” she said.
The former waitress then assisted the Ministry of Tourism team by handing out the bush tea samples before she indulged in a cup of her own.
“I thought that was really cool,” she said.
Avenel Joseph, of Washington DC, was ecstatic after she won the Eleuthera Pineapple Eating Contest, beating out an Eleuthera native.
Similar to the watermelon competition, the participants were not able to use their hands as they tried to bite into the pineapples which were suspended on a string at face level.
With pineapple juice still dripping down her chin, Joseph said the Eleuthera pineapple was really sweet.
“It was beautiful,” she said.
Asked if she would consider coming back she said, “I have to come back and defend my title.”
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Visitors from all over the world visited the Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival site over a three-day weekend. Philadelphia couple Michelle and Captain Dave said they loved carnival.
“My husband can sniff out a festival anywhere in the world and we came here specifically for this and we are not disappointed,” Michelle said. “Every day gets better and better.”
Michelle and Dave said they have been coming to The Bahamas for the past ten years and attended multiple festivals.
“We’ve been to Eleuthera, Bimini, The Abacos, Exuma, Cat Cay and the Berry Islands,” Dave said.
“It just gets better and better and better,” Michelle added. “Absolutely, we love your country.”
SOURCE: Bahamas Ministry of Tourism Press Release
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