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The great thing about visiting another country is that it affords you the opportunity to learn about a culture different than your own. One of the best ways to explore Bermuda's culture is by attending one of the many annual festivals the country hosts.
Events and festivals in Bermuda often showcase regional cuisine, customs, entertainment, and crafts; not to mention the fact that locals come out in high numbers to participate in the festivities. This gives visitors the chance to see how people in Bermuda interact, and maybe even hear a few stories of what life is like on the island.
Bermuda Day is a national holiday that marks the beginning of summer. Different events take place throughout the country, but most notable is the Bermuda Day Parade. The Parade takes place on Front Street and features music, dancing, and floats.
The Non Mariners Race is an ironic boating event that takes place the first Sunday in August. Over thirty years ago, several drunken buddies attempted to sail baby buggies in Hamilton Harbour, and so the Non Mariners Race was born. Today, entrants can sail whatever objects they choose to enter (as long as they will stay afloat) in Mangrove Bay. The race has grown into a charity event, centered around drinking and having a good time.
...one of the world's premier golf events.
The PGA Grand Slam of Golf, held each October at the Port Royal Golf Course in Southampton, is one of the world's premier golf events. The winner of that year's Masters, US Open, British Open, and PGA Championship compete for the title of Champion of Champions.
October is also when the King Edward VII Gold Cup yacht races take place. This is a man-to-man event in Hamilton Harbour, in which all competitors sail vessels of the same design and under the same conditions. The Gold Cup is hosted by Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, and admission is free.
The World Rugby Classic is a weeklong event each November that is just as much about partying as it is about rugby. Eight teams of former international rugby players compete at the National Sports Centre. Meanwhile, fans attend the kick-off party on Bermudian Road, an event called On the Waterfront Party at Barrs Bay Park, and numerous other celebrations throughout the week.
Each year between May and September the Corporation of Hamilton hosts family friendly concerts at Victoria Park.
Live entertainment in Flatt's Village every Thursday, June through September from 7 to 9:30 p.m. Admission is free.
September brings the smooth sounds of legendary jazz musicians to the Royal Naval Dockyard. Performances take place out in the water on a specially built stage, and guests pay for entrance upon arrival.
As September turns into October, another music festival takes over the Dockyard: the Bermuda Music Festival. It is a weekend long event at which local and international stars perform varying genres of music.
The Bermuda Festival of the Performing Arts has been taking place every January and February since 1976. Local performers display their talents in the mediums of dance, music, and theater through a series of scheduled performances.
Features, short films, animation, and documentaries are screened at the Bermuda International Film Festival (BIFF) each March. BIFF is a qualifying event for short films being considered for the Academy Awards.
Every Tuesday, May through September in King's Square, 50 or so vendors sell their wares while local musicians play, dancers dance, and other entertainers entertain.
There are two Harbour Nights events each week throughout the summer. Tuesday nights at the Royal Naval Dockyard and Wednesday nights in Hamilton through roads shut down for lively street parties between the hours of 7 and 10:00 p.m. Food, live entertainment, and shopping are the focal point of this event.
Every Sunday throughout the summer, between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m., the lawn outside Clocktower Mall at the Royal Navy Dockyard becomes a relative street party. Live music, arts and crafts, face painting, food, and activities for the kids are featured.
Live music, dancers, theater performances, vendors, arts and crafts, food, and family activities take over the Royal Navy Dockyard every Monday night, between June and August. Happy Hour at the Frog & Onion Pub precludes Destination Dockyard, from 6 to 8 pm, when the main event begins. Shops at the Clocktower Mall stay open late, and the after hours party is at Bone Fish Bar & Grill.
Four days in October, locals, tourists, and culinary experts alike gather in Bermuda for the best of Bermuda fare, international delicacies, and more. The event is hosted at a different hotel each year, and includes cooking demonstrations, seminars, and exhibitions.
It isn't always feasible to plan a vacation around Bermuda's events and festivals, but if you are going to be on the island when one is taking place, make a point to plan a trip to check it out. You won't be sorry you did.
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