Green Turtle Cay ferry captain, Nigel Lowe, estimated that approximately one thousand people visited Green Turtle Cay on New Year’s Day for the annual Junkanoo Parade’s festivities.
He said that the Green Turtle Cay Ferry offered the regular service in the morning but that by late morning, boat after boat carried visitors to the island, then back in the afternoon with the last ferry reaching the main island dock around 10pm. In addition, taking advantage of the beautiful weather, many people came on private boats from Man O War, Hope Town and Marsh Harbour. So by noon there was already a crowd in the streets of New Plymouth.
As usual, while waiting for the parade to start, people congregated in front of Wrecking Tree or walked the side streets patronizing the many vendors who offered all kinds of drinks, food, pastries and souvenirs.
As spectators ambled along, acquaintances would stop each other with hugs to give New Years’ greetings. There was a jolly, happy and relaxed atmosphere as locals and return visitors socialized with each other. Former Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. Hubert Ingraham arrived in a golf cart with family members, accepting accolades of well-wishers.
The Member of Parliament for North Abaco and Foreign Affairs Minister, the Hon Daren Henfield, also attended the event, socializing with many of his constituents.
The Green Turtle Cay Slammers Junkanoo Group had chosen “the land of sweets” for their theme, so on all the costumes were candy canes, cupcakes and lollipops. The little ones carried cotton candy sticks and the girls and women were dressed as sweet fairies.
By 3pm, many people gathered by the basketball court, some sitting on top of the Ole Jail, others along the streets, as the paraders- the tots leading- made their way from the top of the hill by the cemetery in an explosion of pastel colors.
Many of the Junkanoo veterans were there, cow bells in hands or beating the drums, but it seems that every year more and more youngsters from tots to teens join the parade, enjoying dressing-up and dancing among the revelers who cheered them and nudged each other to take the best photo.
Slowly they rushed through town to the Point and back to the ball court via the front street. On the basketball court, a small band of four players entertained people with lively island music for quite a long while.
People hung out until well after dark and by 8pm, two sets of fireworks finally exploded to mark the end of the festivities.