Held on the Independence Park in traditional fashion; however, two days prior to the actual 46th Anniversary of The Commonwealth of The Bahamas, residents and visitors turned out for the local festivities in commemoration of the country’s milestone on Monday, July 8.
Despite inclement weather experienced early in the day, the skies cleared and Grand Bahamians made their way to the park.
The celebrations were held July 8, a first for the island, to accommodate the presence of the newly appointed Governor General, His Excellency Cornelius A. Smith, along with his wife Clara; Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis, several Cabinet Ministers and Members of Parliament.
As this was an historic occasion, having the Governor General attend the celebrations, His Excellency C. A. Smith and his wife were welcomed home in grand style.
Held under the theme, ‘United We Stand Bahamas, Together We Can,’ the dynamic moderating duo, Will Stubbs and Terez Nixon, better known as ‘Miss Daisy’ once again, not only wowed the crowd with their energetic commentary and enthusiasm, but their engaging entertainment.
Bahamian artists, including Simeon Outten, Desmardo ‘Stileet’ Finley, Wilfred Solomon and Sonovia Pierre opened the night with electrifying performances that gave the crowd a clear indication of what was to come throughout the remainder of the evening.
Putting a spin on the theme, performers took the audience on an excursion, ‘Flying the friendly Bahamian skies…Island hopping,’ through song, dance and choral speaking, from Inagua in the South to Grand Bahama in the North.
Again, the youth took centre stage showcasing their vast talent.
First stop on the excursion were through the Islands of the South inclusive of dance entitled ‘Back to the Island,’ ‘Year of the Drums,’ ‘Inagua Down by the Sea’ performed by the Grand Bahama National Youth Ensemble, followed by Long Island, which featured world renowned Bahamian entertainer Jay Mitchell.
Travelling through the Islands of the Central Bahamas stopping in Exuma, with the ‘Obeah Man,’ onto ‘Funky Nassau,’ and ‘Burma Road’ then to Andros and Cat Island.
Maypole Dancers and Bahamian entertainer Ericka ‘Lady E’ Symonette then took the entertainment to another level.
The final stop was to the Islands of the Northern Bahamas, where students of Bartlett Hill Primary School displayed a wonderful choral speaking skit followed by Bahamian entertainers Papa Smurf, Da Element and Sherrol Rahming, who performed Papa Smurf’s single ‘I am a Bahamian;’ a favourite among many in attendance. Following the trio was a performance entitled, ‘Junkanoo - A touch of rush, United - One Sound,’ which featured veteran Bahamian artist Kirkland ‘KB’ Bodie.
The finale of the Bahamian entertainment included performances by gospel artists Cara Newton and Bishop Denzil Rolle and friends.
An inspirational message was also given by Canon Norman Lightbourne, Rector of Pro Cathedral of Christ the King, followed by a religious selection entitled ‘Revelation 19.’
The festivities would not have been complete without the crowd pleasing Royal Bahamas Police Force Parade, Inspection of the Guard and Flag Raising Ceremony, followed by the singing of the National Anthem and of course, the lavish display of fireworks that lit up the skies.
While the city of Freeport festivities in celebration of the nation’s 46th took place on Monday night, the celebrations continued yesterday, July 10 –Independence Day – in East Grand Bahama, in Pelican Point on the Coconut Festival grounds for a day of family fun.
Further east in Sweeting’s Cay, similar festivities continued with yet another Family Fun Day.
Independence Day celebrations for the month of July are expected to continue with the unveiling of the ‘Wall of Fame’ this coming Saturday, July 13 in Pinder’s Point, as well as in William’s and Russell Towns.
On Saturday, July 27, beginning at 4:00 p.m. at the Jones Town Park, the West Grand Bahama Games Championship and Awards are slated to take place.