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With our pastel-coloured houses, abundance of palm trees, and picturesque beaches, it’s easy to forgive those who mistake Bermuda as part of the Caribbean. “Whenever I travel and tell people that I’m from Bermuda, the first thing they ask me is, when is your Carnival?” says Jason Sukdeo, the President of Bermuda Heroes Weekend Ltd. He’s an avid lover of soca music who has attended many carnivals around the world. In travelling, he recognized the need for a similar event in Bermuda, and through much research, planning and marketing was able to organize the first ever Caribbean-style Carnival, to happen on our shores.
Bermuda Heroes Weekend was a massive three-day celebration of West-Indian culture, with a lively parade, vibrant costumes, dancing in the streets and performances by international soca stars. It was also the beginning of a new tradition and this month it’s all happening again. BHW will start off in typical carnival format, with a stage-show “Fête” on Friday, June 17th. Starting from 6pm at National Stadium in Hamilton, local and international soca stars like Kes the Band, Ricardo Due, Lyrikal and King Bubba FM, will energize the crowd with fast-paced tunes. Followed by a “glow-themed” J’ouvert (french-patois term for party at “dawn-break”) to take place on Saturday morning from 3-8am at the Bernard’s Park, Softball stadium.
“We don’t want to do a direct copy of carnival in other countries, which is why we don’t call it Bermuda Carnival, instead it’s Bermuda Heroes Weekend,” says Jason, explaining how BHW will differ from popular Carnivals in Trinidad, Toronto, Bahamas and Brazil. This year the parade will finish at Clearwater Beach in St. David’s, where the crowd will have the option to strip down to their bathing suits and jump in the water when it’s all done. “Typically Carnival runs through cities with a backdrop of buildings on either side, but we wanted to take advantage of the beauty of Bermuda and finish up at the Beach” he says. The parade will start at 2pm on Saturday, June 18th.
“Of course the biggest difference will be the raft-up. They don’t do that anywhere else, attached to a Carnival,” he concludes. The weekend’s celebrations will culminate on Monday, June 20th, in a huge party on the Great Sound, with booze, music and flotation devices of all shapes and sizes. “This year we are going to try and see if we can get Bermuda in the Guiness Book of World Records for the biggest raft-up in the world!”
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