Junkanoo roared back to life in Eleuthera during the 2022 holiday season, beginning with the annual Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture’s Christmas Day turned-Boxing Day Senior Junkanoo parade competition, hosted along the center of the main thoroughfare in Gregory Town on Monday evening, December 26th. The change from Sunday evening to Monday night was said to be the dictates of inclement weather – which proved to be disruptive during the latter part of the delayed parade event- as well.
The colourful tradition, had an on-time start at 8:00 p.m. on the Boxing Day Monday evening, that allowed all three groups participating – which included – the Hatchet Bay Village Boys, the Gregory Town Cowboys, and the Tarpum Bay Johnsons Superstars junkanoo groups, to get in a full uninterrupted first lap of performances. However, rain, which began as a light spray, during the Gregory Town Cowboys group’s second lap, turned into a heavier downpour just a short time into the Tarpum Bay Johnsons Superstar’s encore performance, which followed after the Cowboys, and then a complete deluge completely stopped the parade. The crowds made their way to shelter or vehicles, ending the night’s festivities early for most onlookers.
Despite the shortened event, the spectacle of music, dance and colour was enjoyed by all who came out to line the streets of Gregory Town, with fans of each group cheering especially loudly as their favourites passed by.
Experienced local and visiting judges deemed that the group with the best Lead Banner in the Senior Junkanoo parade, was the Gregory Town Cowboys. The Best Lead Costume prize was taken by Hatchet Bay’s Village Boys. Tarpum Bay’s Johnsons Superstars was adjudged as having the Best Music, while Hatchet Bay Village Boys also walked away with both the Best Choreography, as well as Best Off The Shoulders costume. The Overall results placed The Cowboys, Gregory Town in 3rd place; the Village Boys, Hatchet Bay in 2nd place; and the Johnsons Superstars, Tarpum Bay as the 1st place winners of the Senior Junkanoo parade competition.
Harbour Island also hosted twin Junkanoo Festivals on both Boxing Day and New Year’s Day, organized by a group of local community members, including former town councilor, Martin Lee Grant, who was master of ceremonies and public relations; Terrance Davis Jr. – chief councilor; and Jammal ‘Chippy’ Brown – a town councilor with Harbour Island’s Local Government District Council.
Along with food, drinks, and novelty vendors under tents encircling the silk cotton tree in the center of downtown Harbour Island, evening entertainment included performances by the fire dancing group called Fire Goddess – out of New Providence; Bahamian entertainer – Blaudy, the popular local band – New Vision, as well as a cameo performance by local Brilander songstress, Ithalia Johnson.
The junkanoo parade in Harbour island was made up of a combination of two local groups – the Hilltop Rockers, and the Zulu Dancers, which together formed the Harbour Island All Stars Junkanoo group. Overall the event was, said Martin Grant, ‘a great success’, adding that as master of ceremonies, New Year’s performances and activities, which had begun after 8:00 p.m. on Sunday evening, January 1st, continued right on up until 2am – early Monday morning.
Tarpum Bay also followed up its Christmas Day/Boxing Day weekend competition-winning performance in Gregory Town with a New Year’s Day Junkanoo Festival hosted on Sunday evening, January 1st, 2023 within the community of Tarpum Bay – taking the cultural celebration into the new year.
Enjoy the full photo feature in the 2023 New Year’s issue of The Eleutheran Newspaper.