On Saturday, October 11 people from far and wide gathered in the quaint settlement of Cherokee to celebrate Cherokee Day. This is not held every year, but the decision was made to revive it again this year to raise much needed funds for the completion of the Cherokee Clinic.
People travelled from all over Abaco to join the Cherokee residents, second homeowners and persons from Nassau coming back to celebrate their Cherokee heritage. The large crowd gave generously and assisted in raising a large and very pleasing sum towards the clinic fund.
The children were thoroughly enjoying themselves, participating in all the activities provided for them such as sack races, balloon popping, fishing bowl and hoops. They also tried their strength in a fun filled tug-of-war. The adults enjoyed the day in a more leisurely way, browsing the white elephant stall, bidding in the silent auction, buying raffle tickets, enjoying all the excellent food and socializing with friends.
The highlight of the day for most was the ‘Cherokee Smack Down.’
Cherokee is known for its history of boatbuilding, especially the building of fishing smacks, and so this competition celebrated its heritage. Four teams were given one hour to create a boat which could float, carry two people and be able to paddle round a buoy and return to the start. In order to create their boat each team was given a box cutter, pair of scissors, roll of duct tape, two dowels and an assortment of large, medium and small cardboard boxes. A roll of shrink wrap was shared by all teams.
Some interesting creations resulted and at the end of the hour the teams took their boats down to the beach followed by a large crowd of onlookers eager to watch the race. Finding that the water was too shallow at the beach everyone then hurried along to the end of the long dock where the water was deep enough to launch their little craft.
Team One, which consisted of team leader Hartie Albury, Darryl Pinder, Dakota Albury, Kaden Albury and Brianna Sweeting were the first place trophy winners. Team Two, consisting of team leader Keith Kemp, Mike Knowles, Lee Johnson, Emily Kemp, Annalise Johnson and Randall Sawyer came in second.
Team three, which consisted of team leader George Weatherford, Sebastian Sawyer, Nathan Carroll and Randall Sawyer sank at the dock and were awarded the Submarine Trophy.
Team four made it halfway but capsized after rounding the buoy. People enjoyed this event so much that it was suggested this should be made a part of every Cherokee Day.
Back at the main gathering place under the almond tree facing the school steps a live auction took place. Many excellent items, including hand-painted art work, handmade quilts and a 20 horsepower boat engine had been donated and people were very generous, as always, in their bidding.
The festivities ended that day with a scavenger hunt through the settlement.
The following morning a very well-attended church service was held in the Epworth Methodist Chapel as a culmination of the Cherokee Day weekend. Guest speaker was Cherokee native Sydney Pinder who had travelled from Nassau for the occasion.
The complete Cherokee Day festivities actually began on Friday evening with an official opening by Member of Parliament for South Abaco – Edison Key. This program also included a brief report on the progress of the clinic by Chairman Capt. Michael Bethel, some history of the first Cherokee Day and other bits of Cherokee trivia, the reading of names of those present on the first Cherokee Day in 1986 but no longer with us and three short skits by the young people of Cherokee.
This program was followed by a friendly competition to determine which of the Cherokee men has the most beautiful knees and ugly feet.
Chicken, rib and wild boar souse and Johnny cake were on sale following the proceedings.