Abaco once again brings home a well-earned Cacique Duho in the category of Special Events at the Ministry of Tourism and the Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association’s 2017 Cacique Awards held at Baha Mar on April 8.
Green Turtle Cay’s Island Roots Heritage Festival (IRHF) captured the prized trophy for their extremely popular annual event which features informative talks, historic displays, arts and crafts, and of course, food and entertainment taking place over a weekend.
Abaco had five finalists in four different categories; Destination Abaco, run by Ruth Saunders for the category of Creative Arts, Friends of the Environment for Sustainable Tourism and Lincoln Jones for Sports, Leisure and Events, along with Love Rush Junkanoo an IRHF
Current Chairman of the IRHF committee Annabelle Cross and Committee member Trina Cooper were excited to be on hand to collect the well-deserved award.
Mrs. Cross said “I found out in late February or early March that IRHF was among the finalists. This was the second time as a finalist, so I thought maybe we would win the second time around.” She added that this year there was a category for Special Events.
In the Special Events category there were only two competitors, and both were from Abaco; the other was Love Rush Junkanoo.
Mrs. Cross said “It felt great to win because it means all of our years of hard work and our event was being recognized nationally. It was also a bit bittersweet because the Love Rush is also a great event and they deserve an award too!”
The first Island Roots Festival was held 1977 when Key West, Florida and New Plymouth, Green Turtle Cay became Sister Cities. A second one was organized a year later, after which it became dormant until 2004, when it was revived with the help and encouragement of The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and a small committee of community volunteers.
Over the past 14 years a volunteer committee has organized 13 festivals, each year with a different theme to celebrate Bahamian history and culture.
Held the first weekend in May, it is a family event that attracts both domestic and international visitors.
Mrs. Cross expressed gratitude to the Ministry of Tourism, especially the Abaco Tourist Office, for the support and for the award, and to everyone who has played or still plays a part in helping IRHF come to life.
Manager of the Ministry of Tourism, Abaco Office, Wynsome Ferguson said, “The IRHF is well deserving of the award and it speaks volumes about what we are doing here in Abaco in terms of special events.”
She said that the event has been held for fourteen years now, noting that they “concentrate on the education, the history, family ties and all of that; it’s more than just the food and entertainment.”
“It offers a variety of activities that can engage everyone from the little ones to the grandma and grandpa,” she said. “They work really hard on building the event, and the community really comes together as one to pull it off.”