Junkanoo … a welcomed cultural experience

 Residents and visitors alike shared their 2017 New Year’s Junkanoo Parade experience

Residents and tourists alike enjoyed the multicolored cultural festivities of this year’s Junkanoo parade, which was held on Monday, January 2.  


The Freeport News attended the event in Downtown Freeport and spoke to some of the spectators at the parade about their experience.


Dr. Ray Evans, Teacher and Athletic Director at Pine Forest Academy said that this was his first time attending the parade in Grand Bahama in 12 years and it seems to be much improved since then.  


“This is my first time being back home for Junkanoo, I’ve been living out of the country for the last 10 to 12 years between Canada and the States,” Evans said. 


Evans noted that he was looking forward to seeing all of the groups, but his godson actually played with the Platinum Knights Junkanoo group.  


However, Evans said that he only wished the event was actually on New Year’s Day, because that is how it was when he was growing up.


“I’m old school, I prefer coming out church, then going home getting some chicken souse and then coming back out four or five o’clock in the morning,” he said. 


Evans noted that as a teacher he understood why some people might have had a problem with it, because school started the day after for many private schools.  


He revealed that hopefully, next year Pine Forest Academy would have its own Junior Junkanoo group.  


One Grand Bahamian gave positive reviews on the parade itself; however, she wished that the Junkanoo Committee had taken the date into consideration, because some children went back to school today.  


Another resident told this daily that Junkanoo is a family affair for her and her children.  She noted that her son beats the drums for the Swingers Junkanoo Group and her daughter aspires to join the group next year as well.  


Kristen Valentine, a tourist from Central Valley, California also spoke to this daily about her first time experience at Junkanoo this year.  


“This is my first time here in The Bahamas and at Junkanoo,” she said.  


Valentine noted that she and her friend wanted to spend the their vacation in a warm destination and decided on The Bahamas, specifically Grand Bahama.


“When we were looking at islands we decided that Grand Bahama was the right kind of island for what we wanted to do,” she said. 


With regards to the actual parade, Valentine was very impressed.  


“It’s amazing, it’s beautiful, the costumes are creative, and the music is fantastic. I can’t believe you actually get this kind of a turn out on a yearly basis,” she said. 


Valentine stated that she has never experienced something like the parade and enjoyed learning about it from the information given over the radio.  


Published  Thursday, January 5, 2017 

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