Overflow parking and back to back ferries on New Year’s Day indicated a record crowd in Green Turtle Cay to enjoy the settlement’s Junkanoo Parade.
One of the ferry captains present estimated nearly 900 people went to New Plymouth that day on the ferry.
Locals, second home owners, and visitors gathered in the center of town, walking elbow to elbow on the streets of the small settlement. Many stopped to offer or receive New Year’s wishes, while others stood by Miss Emily’s Blue Bar or in front of the many stands offering local food.
In the meantime, the members of the Little Island Slammers Junkanoo group were putting the last touches on their costumes and warming the drums, readying themselves for the 2 p.m. parade.
Finally, with tiny tots leading the way, the performers descended the steep street that led to town. In an array of colors, accompanied by drums and brass, the revelers paraded along Parliament Street toward the point, making their way back on Bay Street, as people jammed the side of the road in order to take pictures and cheer them on.
The theme this year was “China,” which the group displayed with bright kimono dresses worn by the female paraders whose faces were painted white. The banner was decorated with two dragons facing each other along with yin and yang symbolism.
Dancing in the mid-afternoon sun, the parade participants finally reached the basketball court, where some of the rushers shed their costumes while the Gully Roosters prompted others to dance with members of the crowd, as they played lively Caribbean music.
The “Bunce”, rather frightening this year, was wearing a wild animal mask and hid in a costume of palm fronds. He walked amid the crowd, frightening the little kids, but enjoying the company of the females who did not have any qualms about dancing with him.
The free dancer, who dressed in newspaper shreds and a pointy mask, did not mind revealing a tee-shirt advertising the Nassau Junkanoo group, the Saxons, as he got rid of the top of his paper attire.
Former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham enjoyed watching the parade, sitting in a golf cart in front of the Wrecking Tree, while the Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, the Hon. Daniel Johnson, mingled with the crowd.
Live music on the court and a DJ at the Wrecking Tree kept the visitors in a party mood until 9 p.m., the time of the last ferry to the main island.
Overall, it was a successful event that rang in the New Year with Bahamian tradition.