Nothing will convey the true island feeling like Eleuthera’s ethnic festivals. My nephew Andy spent 4 months on Eleuthera in the summer of 2010. He is pictured below and reports...
"I have experienced Bahamian music and island party culture at their best. Marco and I from Switzerland, and Johana from Colombia, attended a Junkanoo in Governor's Harbour and the Pineapple Fest in Gregory Town".
Johana and Andy at the Governor's Harbour Junkanoo
Andy: The festivities began with a dressed-up local Junkanoo band marching through the streets of the settlement, making incredible noise with their traditional instruments.
Some of these instruments are quite astounding... Drums made out of engine oil barrels, or the two long cow bells (below), one in each hand.
We were even invited by Junkanoo dancers to dress up with their funny hats (above) and dance with them in the parade.
Andy: After the Junkanoo procession was over, the big gigs were the Defence Force Band and the Nassau Police Band. The latter in particular entertained us with a good show.
Andy: Johana and I most enjoyed the live Junkanoo band that paraded the streets of Governor's Harbour. That band made us feel the Bahamian vibes.
I was pleasantly surprised to learn that there were more events in Central Eleuthera than just the weekly Friday night Fish Fry.
Generally Eleuthera's events start late and last all night. No need to arrive early, except if you want to sample the various dishes from the food stalls.
For 10 dollars we got a plate of fish, crab meat, conch, or chicken, with the usual peas and rice or other side dishes.
Andy: Do not expect everybody to dance at the Junkanoo even though the music is loud and the atmosphere electrified. Eleuthera is relaxed and people seem to particularly enjoy chatting, eating and enjoying the wild music.
Andy: Marco and I started out in the late afternoon by lazing away in the festival area down by the harbor of Gregory Town. We were sipping pineapple daiquiris and saw many food stalls and straw work stands in the harbor area.
Gregory Town and Harbor
Andy: The official opening of the Pineapple Fest was only at about 8 p.m., starting with the election of Miss Pineapple. Young girls of 13 or thereabouts dressed up like photo models. They presented themselves self-confidently as if they were women of 25. This was quite amusing to watch.
The speaker was testing their knowledge of Eleuthera's history and that's where we got used to their unique Bahamian accent. But the Miss Pineapple pre-election process lasted oh-so-long.
Later in the evening popular bands from Nassau like the Prison Guard Band were playing, and there in Gregory Town I experienced the fervent Afro-Caribbean rhythms for the first time. What a feeling!
We particularly enjoyed the fast, rhythmic music and the enthusiastic entertainers who did their best to really involve the public.
Best of all were the funny stories in the songs that contributed to the general happy atmosphere of that night under an awe-inspiring, starry sky. A wonderful dancing night in a refreshing sea breeze!
Believe me, these festive activities are something you shouldn't miss because they are your best chance to get the real island feeling.
Homecomings are weekends of celebration in which Bahamians come back to their home towns from the two big Bahamian cities - Nassau and Freeport - and even from the United States.
Homecomings are celebrated at night in the center of the respective settlements. These very popular festivals with food stalls and live band performances attract hundreds of locals and expatriates. Tourists are welcome, too!
In the following settlements - from North-Eleuthera to South-Eleuthera - homecoming festivals are celebrated in the following settlements...