The biggest annual event in the life of Bermudians has become even bigger in the last six years with the creation of Beachfest Emancipation Celebration!
Indeed, more entertainment has been added to the first day of the Bermuda Cup Match that sees the cricket teams of St. Georges and Somerset playing a game to celebrate the abolition of slavery.
The recently created event was given the 2011 award of Best Cultural Event of the Year by The Bermudian and has grown in popularity ever since it started in 2006. The event was actually created as a mean to reinforce a popular tradition that developed along the Bermuda Cup Match celebrations.
On the first day of the Cup Match, usually slower than the second, it became an habit for many locals to spend time outdoors with friends and family. For younger generations, the custom was to use these 4 days holidays to catch up with friends at the beach on Thursday and support the team of their choice on Friday, the final day of the cricket game.
Horseshoe Bay, the most famous beach of Bermuda, was spontaneously chosen by the youth of the island to meet up on the first day of the Cup Match. Years after years, it saw more and more locals and tourists joining the movement, making this day the busiest of the year on the beach.
The Chewstick Foundation, a local charity that gave itself for mission to break down the social barriers through artistic collaboration, decided to make this tradition more official. They created the Beachfest Emancipation Celebration, called like this because the first day of the Cup Match is officially named Emancipation Day, while the second is called Somers’ Day.
The thinking of the Chestwick Foundation behind Beachfest was to provide entertainment to the youths other than losing money at the gambling game of Crown and Anchor while waiting for the evening activities. Everything in the festival is organised with the 4 core principles of Chestwick in mind, respect, freedom, love and truth.
The charity has created an all-day event free and open to everyone, with a family and fun feeling. Beachfest Emancipation Celebration is seen as a celebration of youth, arts, culture and community by its organiser Gavin Smith, the face of Chestwick since its creation in 2002. At the start of the Beachfest, in 2005, about 2,000 people took part, a number similar to that of the previous years when there wasn’t anything organised yet. In 2010, the rain didn’t stop almost 10,000 people to join the Beachfest, while in 2011 the number reached the 11,000 participants.
Beachfest Emancipation Celebration now includes a Wednesday evening event with an Emancipation ceremony, DJ’s and international music acts. During the Thursday, there is tournaments of five-a-side football, rugby and volley-ball, as well as games of tug of war and Crown and Anchor with the players receiving prizes instead of paying money. Fun is at the centre of the Thursday with also a skate park on the beach, wacky races such as hula-hooping and limbo, as well as a giant water slide for kids and adults alike.
Even if the Bermuda Cup Match still remains the most important event in Bermuda, the Beachfest Emancipation Celebration offers a great alternative to those who want to do a bit more than just watching cricket. Everyone will still be around the pitch on the final day of the match to cheer and rest after a full day of fun at Horseshoe Bay.
Bermuda Beachfest Emancipation – http://beach-fest.com
Bermuda Beachfest Emancipation – Part of Elbow Beach Cycles – ‘Things to do in Bermuda’ series!
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