Founded in the late 1700's, New Plymouth is proud of it's Loyalist heritage and it's African roots. For over two centuries, the Bahamas has celebrated the festival of Junkanoo with the distinctive "kalik, kalik" sound of cow bells, colorful handmade costumes and African drumming. The heart and spirit of the Bahamas lies in this celebration. You see it portrayed on their $5 bill and the national drink is Kalik beer, named after the cow bell sound. The festival emerged from the annual celebration in song and dance of slaves from Africa on Boxing Day. The name is said to have derived from John Canoe, who led a slave rebellion and used African drums as his signal.
The Junkanoo parade now is performed as part of many celebrations. We were so happy that we were able to be in Green Turtle Cay for the 3rd Annual Heritage Roots celebration. This festival included many local and marching bands, a maypole dance and the Junkanoo parade. Performing bands included the #1 Bahamian band, the Gully Roosters, the local marching band, a great local "rake and scrape" band using instruments such as a saw, the Royal Bahamian Police Force Marching Band and many others. A GOOD TIME was had by all!
The local environmental organization, Reef Relief, occupies the historic Roland House in downtown New Plymouth. It held a reception as part of the Festival. This organization is headquartered in Key West, sister city to New Plymouth. The Green Turtle branch of Reef Relief does good work teaching local children the importance of the preservation of marine species. In addition, it directly protects the Abaco reef system by the installation of mooring buoys which eliminate the need to anchor in the reefs. It is a good organization and great people.
Every day, we bicycled from our anchorage in White Sound down the length of the island to the Festival. On the way, we stopped to picnic at our favorite little cove.