The All Abaco Junkanoo Committee Members met together with sponsors and media on December 6 to explain plans for the two upcoming Junkanoo events as well as present seed money to the Junkanoo groups. The first event on their calendar is the Second Annual Junkanoo Competition held at Sea Spray Resort in Hope Town. The second event is occurring in February: Love Rush 2013.
Junior Mernard, general manager at Sea Spray Resort, explained this year’s competition. Held on December 28, the Junkanoo Competition will be honouring the memory of Monty Albury, the late owner of Sea Spray Resort. He was a mentor and friend to many on Hope Town and the committee found it fitting to remember him this year. Each year they attempt to honour the memory one person who has made an impact in Abaco. Last year they honoured Leonard Thompson.
The theme for this year’s Sea Spray event is: “Bringing culture to the front door of Hope Town.” VIP tickets to the event can be purchased prior to the event at the Albury’s Ferry snack bar. Billed by Mr. mernard as a “Family outing,” he explained ferries will run directly to Sea Spray starting at 6:30 p.m. that Friday night and continue every hour until 8:30 p.m. All boats start returning to Marsh Harbour at midnight.
Mr. Mernard wanted to recognize Sands Beer, who are a major sponsor of this year’s Junkanoo Competition.
On February 22 and 23 the Junkanoo Love Rush is scheduled to highlight the work and practice of both senior and junior Junkanoo groups. To date, nine schools have signed on and two senior groups are confirmed. The two senior groups are: the Spring City Rockers and the Treasure Cay Explorers.
The two senior groups have each won the competition at some point in the past, so regardless of how many more groups join the committee noted it is already going to be a “Battle of the champions.”
A point of pride among the committee members is the fact that Abaco’s parade is regarded as second only to Nassau.
“Fourteen years ago,” said Mr. Davis, committee member, “we were unrated. Now we are second.”
The committee also noted how important Junkanoo can be to a local economy. As a draw to both international tourists as well as visitors from other islands in The Bahamas, putting out a good cultural product can energize the community.
$800 seed money was presented by Junior Mernard and William Davis to the Junkanoo groups. A special recognition for the other Junkanoo Committee members was also made: Jackie Estevez, Ruth Saunders, Colin Curry, Wynsome Ferguson, Ishmael Morley, Barbara Johnson and Matthew Sawyer