With local emancipation festivities now in its 65th year, officials are placing a greater emphasis on culture for this year’s festivities.
Listing a number of events scheduled for this year’s celebrations, Culture Minister Dr Natalio Wheatley said he is pleased with the emphasis being placed on culture.
“Carrot Bay has always had a strong cultural component with their cultural fiesta. In addition to their customary activities, they will be having a traditional market day, where local produce, cultural treats will be on sale, they will have a cultural dance competition, and they will make cassava bread on site, among other activities,” Dr Wheatley said while speaking in the House of Assembly last week.
He also said there will be new ways of highlighting the BVI’s heritage and culture at the East End/Long Look leg of the festivities.
“We will have a festival of culture and praise, which will include cultural demonstrations, plait pole, mocko jumbies, cultural food, fungi music, among other activities. There will also be a heritage village in Long Look as another new addition to the festivities,” Minister Wheatley said.
He added: “In Road Town, we will have two culture nights and the return of the Calypso competition, which will complement the cultural food fair and other ongoing cultural activities.”
Dr Wheatley also commended the parade committee, which is headed by Ottley Hodge, for honouring a number of persons for their contributions to the festival over the years.
The minister said he believes this event should be added to the list of annual festival activities.
Dr Wheatley also encouraged persons to remember that festival is not only about fetting and carnival but more so an annual tradition held to acknowledge the ancestors of the BVI who struggled and broke the barriers of slavery.
The legislator said at the end of the year when all of the festivals have been completed, he will return to the drawing board and analyze other ways to strengthen the focus on heritage and culture in the BVI.
The festival commences with the annual Gospel Fest on July 25 and the official opening of the Road Town Festival Village, which will remain open from July 26 to August 6.
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