Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival
Rotary Club of Freeport gets a taste of Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival
By Immerse Bahamas
Apr 10, 2015 - 3:29:44 PM


The Rotary Club of Freeport got a taste of Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival on Thursday, which served as a prelude to the Kickoff Weekend set for Grand Bahama on April 17thand 18th at Taino Beach.

Bahamas National Festival Commission Consultant Ginger Moxey, in her address at the Rotarians’ weekly luncheon meeting at the Ruby Swiss Restaurant, spoke about the merits of the first ever Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival which was a created as a vehicle to market Junkanoo and Bahamian arts and culture, rebrand the country as a viable entertainment and cultural destination and create a profitable industry from which all Bahamians can benefit.

Moxey, who stepped down from her post last year as former vice president of The Grand Bahama Port Authority to start her own business which promotes Bahamian entrepreneurs and Bahamian culture, confessed that she was not initially onboard with the original idea.

“I will be the first to admit that I was not feeling Bahamas Carnival, as it was initially called, and this, I believe, was mainly as a result of my own misconceptions about ‘Carnival,’ -- another word for ‘festival,’ but I didn’t know this, at the time,” she said.

“My feelings quickly changed when I looked at what I had set out to accomplish with Immerse Bahamas, and how it completely aligned with the true intent of Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival – which was to create cultural entrepreneurs and provide income-producing opportunities for those involved in the business of culture.”

Moxey pointed out that the reality is that the Bahamian people are benefiting from this new concept and the local economy is being impacted.

“My greatest moment during this entire experience is the fact that I can walk into the production room and see so many formally unemployed Junkanooers who are now earning a living through the production of costumes for Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival. This, for me, is what it’s all about,” she told Rotarians, “creating a sustainable industry for our island and our country. This is what brings me joy and fulfillment.”

Moxey explained that when The Bahamas National Festival Commission first visited Grand Bahama to discuss Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival which is set for May 7-9 in New Providence, the basis of the discussion was mainly to have a group from Grand Bahama travel to the capital for the festivities.

“For many of us here, while we liked the idea of participating in the Nassau events in May, we could not see the economic impact for our community. With this in mind, we petitioned for our very own weekend of activities, and hence the weekend of April 17 and 18,” she said.

As the Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival Kick Off Weekend in Grand Bahama was not budgeted, the call went out to corporate Grand Bahama to assist, and before long, Port Lucaya Marketplace Owner Peter Hunt made the first investment for the development of prototypes for each Junkanoo Group.

Businessman Mario Donato quickly followed and donated the shop space at his Regent Centre location in a prime downtown location for use by the Grand Bahama Cultural Carnival Company (GBCCC) to serve as an office; production house; and shop for ‘The Grand Life’.

Moxey said after a while, The Grand Bahama Island Tourism Board, PharmaChem Technologies, Statoil, Freeport Harbour Company, Freeport Container Port, Grand Bahama Airport Company, Grand Bahama Power Company, Grand Bahama Shipyard Limited, Bahamian Brewery and Beverage Company Limited, Burn’s House, Agave, Livity, The Compound and Sippers Restaurant and Bar also came onboard as sponsors.

BTC was applauded for their commitment to culture, as the primary sponsor of Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival for The Bahamas.

GBCCC is a coming together of all Junkanoo groups, cultural product providers, musicians, artisans, and others to form one combined group for the inaugural Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival, which serves as a true representation for the island of Grand Bahama, Moxey added.

The company has also created its own brand called, ‘The Grand Life’.

“In partnership with the Ministry for Grand Bahama; Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, and Grand Bahama Island Tourism Board, we are going to make next weekend, April 17th – 18th, an exciting time for visitors and residents, alike,” she said.

Moxey stressed that there will be something for everyone to experience when the gates open at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, April 17 at the Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival Cultural Village on Taino Beach, inclusive of live Bahamian music, an all-star Bahamian performance lineup, DJ Showcase, a dance group dance off, Music Masters Semi-finals Part I and II, a Midnight Rush, workout sessions, game tournaments, a Kiddie Land, Junkanoo Rush out, fireworks and Beach Olympics.

Proceeds from the Beach Olympics will go to Special Olympics of Grand Bahama.

“Part I of the Music Masters Semi-Finals song competition will take place (on Friday). This, ladies and gentlemen, will feature some of the most beautifully written and performed music that I have ever heard. We should all be very proud of our Bahamian musicians. We have two of our very own, Terrelle Tynes-Wilson and Georgina Ward Rigby, who are semi-finalists in the competition,” Moxey said.

Part II of the Music Masters Semi-Finals competition set for Saturday will determine the Top 10 who go on to the Finals in Nassau on May 8.

“Let’s show our support by purchasing ‘The Grand Life’ brand products; by ordering your costume that you can wear at our beach party on April 18th and at ‘Road Fever’ in Nassau on May 9th by registering your company for Beach Olympics; by getting your tickets today for next week’s event; and finally by simply embracing this wonderful opportunity for our community,” said Moxey.

Minister for Grand Bahama Dr. Michael Darville also addressed Rotarians and noted that research has shown that domestic tourism and hotel occupancy is very low in April and May and hosting the festival around this time will cause an injection that will have a “trickle-down effect” on hotel rooms, local restaurants, the transportation industry and others in the tourism sector.

“The economic impact studies clearly indicated that we anticipate, for this first event, an economic impact of 3 to1. So I’m convinced that everything that we invest in this festival will be multiplied three times; hard core cash injected here on island. We’re very pleased with that,” Minister Darville said.

Minister Darville also commended Corporate Grand Bahama for coming onboard to ensure that this new signature event is something special for the entire island and Balaeria and Celebration for its partnership to provide in excess of 1,000 additional rooms for guests coming to the island.

The minister assured that the concerts and events at Taino Beach are strategically crafted and his ministry has worked closely with organizers to separate the adult from the children’s activities to ensure that they pull off a signature event that is pleasing for everyone in all age groups.

The Rotarians were also given a taste of Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival with spirited a performance by Music Masters Semi-Finalist Georgina Ward Rigby and ‘The Grand Life’ Models.

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