Datebook | Events calendar (Mar/Apr 2018)

Events around the Caribbean in March and April, from Guyana’s Easter Regatta to Carnival in Jamaica and St Patrick’s Day in Montserrat

  • Photo by Brendan Delzin/Shutterstock.com
  • Photo by Kiwanis Club Of Little Havana
  • Photo by Chuckschugphotography/iStock.com
  • Photo by Georgia Popplewell
  • Photo by Andres Garcia Martin/Shutterstock.com
  • Photo courtesy of The New York Botanical Garden
  • Photo courtesy New Fire Music Festival
  • Photo by Amanda Richards
  • Photo by Grenada Tourism Authority

Don’t miss . . .

Turtle-watching season

March to September (dates vary by location)
Across the Caribbean

Moonlight illuminates the path for female sea-turtles coming ashore. Soft carpets of sand greet the endangered hawksbills, loggerheads, greens, olive ridleys, and leatherbacks ready to lay their eggs. A few months later, hatchlings will dig their way out of the sand, and dash adorably towards the sea. Trinidad’s Grande Rivière, the west coast of Barbados, Golden Sea Beach in Jamaica, and Park Beach in Bequia are just some of the best spots to experience this encounter with nature. Following local precautions and booking a tour guide are highly encouraged.


If you’re in . . .

. . . MIAMI

Carnaval Miami 
10 February to 11 March
Venues around Miami
carnavalmiami.com

Every year, Miami’s Latin community celebrate their roots at month-long Carnaval Miami — one of the city’s largest festivals of Latin culture, and a community project fundraiser by the Kiwanis Club of Little Havana. March kicks off with Carnaval on the Mile, a street festival stretching the full length of Coral Gables’ “Miracle Mile.” With food stalls, live bands, and exhibits by over 150 artists, downtown Coral Gables becomes a hotspot for art-lovers. Foodies unite at Cork & Fork, the Cooking Showdown, and the Cuban Sandwich Smackdown. In Miami, March has even been proclaimed Cuban sandwich month.

But you’re guaranteed to work off the calories at Calle Ocho Miami. Traversing the twenty blocks of this street festival will make you dance the entire day, as you enjoy music stages, international food stations, and other entertainment. Havana, Cuba, may be renowned for its ballet, vintage cars, and cigars, but the Calle Ocho festival in Miami’s own Little Havana is notorious for the party — and for breaking records. In 1988, the festival set a world record for the longest conga line, with 119,986 people, and in 2000 it served up the world’s longest cigar. Maybe this year they’ll serve up the world’s largest Cuban sandwich!

. . . GUYANA

Bartica Easter Regatta
31 March to 2 April 
Bartica, Essequibo

Guyana’s “many waters” meet at the confluence of the Mazaruni, Cuyuni and Essequibo Rivers, where the mining town of Bartica hosts a magnificent array of entertaining activities over the long Easter weekend. And it all began because of a challenge from a competitive local to a thrill-seeking foreigner. In 1947, a visiting yachtsman sped across the Essequibo in his twenty-two-horsepower-engine yacht, displaying “adventurous river navigation skills.” Locals were intrigued. Not to be outdone, Charles Guthrie, manager of a Bartica electrical company, pulled out his own arsenal — an aluminium utility boat with the same engine. Needless to say, the entire town of Bartica and environs came out to witness the contest, and the rest is history.

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The Easter Regatta begins with a Street Jam on Easter Saturday, followed by the Miss Regatta Pageant. Easter Sunday and Monday bring the main event: F1 Power Boat Racing, where dozens of vessels compete in an expanse of river broad as a bay. Other activities include a gymkhana presentation, a gospel concert, and various sporting competitions.

. . . TRINIDAD

NGC Bocas Lit Fest 
25 to 29 April
National Library and other venues around Port of Spain
bocaslitfest.com

A passion for bringing words alive is palpable at the Anglophone Caribbean’s largest literary festival. Your biggest problem might be deciding which events to attend, from the selection of over a hundred workshops, readings, lively discussions, and film screenings.

This year’s headline writers include Jamaica’s first female poet laureate, Lorna Goodison, alongside Trinidad-born Canadian novelist André Alexis and star poets Kei Miller and Vahni Capildeo. Caribbean writers are the heart of the festival, joined this year by authors from Sri Lanka, New Zealand, and Fiji — part of a special focus on global island literature.

Intellectual heft is expected in discussions on the future of islands, with special emphasis on economics, development, and the environment. And if you can’t attend the main festival, there’s a month-long pre-festival programme of performances, book launches, and films.

Event previews by Shelly-Ann Inniss


Mambo into March 

Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibition

Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto
rom.on.ca
2017 South African Wildlife Photographer of the Year Brent Stirton’s Memorial to a Species will be among the one hundred images selected for their originality and technical excellence
16 December – 18 March

New York Botanical Garden Orchid Show

Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, NYBG
nybg.org
View a series of installations crafted by one of the world’s leading floral designers, Daniel Ost
3 March – 22 April

Fiesta del Tambor

Mella Theatre, Havana, Cuba
Cuba’s popular dance companies and music orchestras compete in percussion competitions and rumba dancing contests
5-11 March

St Patrick’s Festival

Venues around Montserrat
discovermni.com
Go back in time with African and Irish music performances, a heritage feast, a freedom run, and more
9-19 March

New Fire Music Festival

Ortinola Estate, St Joseph, Trinidad
newfireworld.com
More than a music festival: a new way of life, with camping under the stars, engaging workshops, and more
23-25 March


Awesome April

Lethem Easter Rodeo

Lethem, Guyana
Bronco- and bull-riding, a wild-cow milking competition and best-dressed vaqueiro contest: Rupununi communities mark Easter weekend with high adrenaline thrills
31 March-2 April

Jamaica Carnival

Venues around Kingston and Ocho Rios
visitjamaica.com
From pulsating beach parties to breakfast fetes, mas camp sessions to J’Ouvert and a high-energy street parade, Kingston and Ocho Rios keep pumping
31 March-8 April

SVG Gospel Fest

Venues around St Vincent
Gospel expressions in music, song, dance, and drama lift audiences up high
1-30 April

Goat- and Crab-Racing

Venues around Tobago
Jockeys as fit as their goats gallop alongside them for this Tobago Easter tradition, while crab competitors move at a more sideways pace
31 March-3 April

Pure Grenada Music Fest

Port Louis, Grenada
grenadamusicfestival.com
It’s all about the music, with dynamic performances from top artistes including soca queen Alison Hinds, Grammy-winning soul singer Chrisette Michele, and reggae legends Morgan Heritage
13-15 April