Monday, May 30, 2011

A Taste of the Caribbean

By Navardo Saunders

FREEPORT, GRAND BAHAMA- The popular recreation and exercising grounds, St. Stephen's Parish Park, in Eight Mile Rock will be transformed into an international cultural village where an array of Bahamian, Jamaican, Haitian, Barbadian and Dominican foods, art and other goods will be on display when the Ministry of Tourism hosts the Third Annual International Cultural and Heritage Festival on Saturday.

Organizer Elaine Smith, product development executive at the Ministry of Tourism, is inviting the entire Grand Bahama community and all visitors to participate in the festival, which she promises will be bigger and better than ever.

"Junkanoo, marching bands and live entertainment will all be on display," Smith told The Freeport News. "Also we invite everyone to take part in a wide selection of international foods prepared by vendors from Jamaica, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Philippines, Barbados and of course The Bahamas, in particular, Cat Island, Long Island, Andros and Exuma."

The festival starts at 3:00 p.m. and is scheduled to end at 11:00 p.m.

It will include activities for the whole family, Smith said.

Last year, residents from as far as East End, Grand Bahama participated.

A number of visitors also took part and thoroughly enjoyed the experience, according to tourism officials, who are appealing to hotel employees and residents in general to tell visitors about the festival.

Tourism officials are appealing to anyone who knows of a group of visitors who are interested in attending to alert the Community Tourism Unit at the Ministry of Tourism at 350-8600 which will arrange transportation to and from the event.

Bahamians can expect all their favorites to be on sale at the festival such as conch salad, grilled conch and lobster, peanut cake, benny cake, fried fish, baked macaroni, fried chicken and more.

The Haitians will be serving up griot, which is also popular among Bahamians.

Pork, fish and chicken griot and more will be on sale.

The Jamaicans will show off their spicy jerk pork and chicken and maybe even curry mutton among other foods.

The Brass and Legend Marching Brands will perform as well as the Classic Dancers Junkanoo Group.

The online social network facebook is already abuzz about the festival, with scores of people saying they intend to participate.

Ministry of Tourism officials say the security will be fully enforced, as a number of police officers will be on patrol.

Smith said they Ministry of Tourism is hoping that Stephen's Park is crammed like sardines are in their containers.

"We want everyone from small children to senior citizens and everyone in between to come out and enjoy themselves," she said. "It's going to be a very memorable, exciting day that nobody should want to miss."

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