“Adventure, Enterprise and Infamy” was the theme of the Twelfth Annual Island Roots Heritage Festival (IRHF) in Green Turtle Cay on May 6 through 8, with much of the look and feel of the festival centered on piracy.
Visitors, both local and from other countries, were treated to a variety of talks on pirates, with particular talks about Black Bart Roberts by Timothy Roberts and Mary Read by Michelle Murillo, as well as talks by Amanda Diedrick on wrecking and one that covered wrecking, bootlegging and blockade running among other things by Shane Cash.
Peter Roberts from the Bahamas Genealogy project as held an informative session while offering persons DNA testing and information. The Bahamas National Trust (BNT) also had an informative talk about conservation and had a bird watching tour in the afternoon.
At the Festival site visitors were treated to an assortment of arts and crafts from paintings and photographs, to straw-work and quilt work, jewelry and more as local artists displayed their talents. They also enjoyed a variety of Bahamian dishes and treats as large crowds gathered around food booths to get scorch or conch salad, cracked lobster and more. There was also a wide array of ‘sweets’ with cakes, cookies and fudge; enough to satisfy everyone’s sweet tooth.
There were a variety of activities, such as egg-and-spoon races, scavenger hunts, sack races, and musical chairs, all of which were coordinated by the band of five period characters dressed in authentic costumes reflecting the style of the pirates and people of the 1700’s.
The ever popular Royal Bahamas Defence Force Marching and Pop Band performed as usual, drawing a crowd to watch and sometimes even get involved. There were also delightful performances by Amy Roberts Primary School and the Tiny Turtles during the day.
At night guests were entertained by a variety of Bahamian musicians – including New Entry Band, Julien Believe, the Sax Man – Rashad Reckley – and the local Gully Roosters. One of the highlights of the event; however, was social media sensation and comedian Sawyer Boy (Tamico Sawyer) who entertained with his native brand of comedy.
On Saturday evening the Forest Heights Falcons, National Junior Junkanoo Champions, provided the Junkanoo parade with their colorful and beautiful costumes.
Renardo Curry, North Abaco Minister of Parliament, officially opened the service commending the Island Roots Heritage Festival Committee for “making this event such a successful event.”
He said that “not only do they bring about togetherness and unity that is so necessary in communities like this, but also they ensure that it continues to thrive and do well and bring about an economic stimulus.”
He thanked the sponsors that make the event possible as their gift “goes a long way to helping to build our communities and develop our island.”
She said that the festival helps to create “an appreciation of our heritage and culture… and demonstrates that Green Turtle Cay is an excellent place to live.”
“This doesn’t just happen,” he said, thanking the IRHF Committee for their work. “There is a lot of stuff that goes into this event that you don’t hear about and the obstacles that they have to face.”
Annabel Cross, head of the Festival Committee, thanked everyone who helped bring the event together and said that “countless hours of planning, phone calls, emails, fundraising, sleepless nights, mishaps, acts of nature and near disasters have to happen before we can share this weekend with you.”
The festival will take a hiatus next year as they normally do during election years.