Island hopper (May/June 2007)

What’s happening in the Caribbean in May and June

Chef Bruce Sherman of North Pond Café Restaurant, Chicago, at the 2006 Cayman Culinary Classic. Photograph courtesy Cayman Islands Department Of TourismFootage from the 2006 Curaçao Dive Festival. Photograph courtesy the Curaçao Tourism Corp – North America

Cricket is over and the Easter vacation is now a blur. But don’t despair; the months of May and June aren’t dormant ones in the Caribbean. In fact, there are more than enough activities to entice all people, of all backgrounds and interests.

The Stanford Antigua Sailing Week kicks things off from April 29 to May 5. One of the biggest events in the world sailing calendar, Sailing Week attracts sailing enthusiasts from all over the world. The event features endless parties too, including the Lord Nelson Ball, an elegant black-tie affair.

If you are in the mood for a real street party, head to the Cayman Islands Batabano Carnival (May 3 to 5). The highlight of that island’s calendar, Batabano features colourful costumes, parades, music and dancing.

May 4 to 13 brings a flood of musicians and music lovers to St Lucia for the annual jazz festival. The premier jazz event in the region, this festival has hosted some of the biggest acts in recent years.

For an epicurean delight, go back the Caymans for the Cayman Culinary Classic (May 10 to 13). Guests are invited to partake of the sumptuous food and drinks on hand.

Once you’ve eaten your fill in the Caymans, head to Tobago to work it off at the Angostura Sailing Week (May 13 to 18). Celebrating its 25th anniversary, this sailing event will feature a regatta village, the focal point of after-race activities.

Take time for a little religion at the Barbados Gospelfest (May 19 to 27). Now in its 15th year, the region’s premier gospel festival promises to be a week of uplifting ministry through song. Canton Jones and Martha Munizzi will be the headliners.

With your soul filled, you can enrich your mind at the Calabash International Literary Festival in Jamaica (May 25 to 27). The annual instalment will treat patrons to free readings and live music from over 30 authors and musicians.

Get a double dose of fun in Curaçao at the Curaçao Jazz (May 26 to 27) and the Curaçao Dive Festival (May 26 to June 2). In previous years, this festival featured an underwater treasure hunt, educational seminars and lots of parties.

End the month and ring in the new one elbow-deep in pineapples at the Pineapple Festival (May 31 to June 3) on Eleuthera Island, Bahamas.

The event attracts over 5,000 people annually, and celebrations include a Junkanoo parade, a pineapple recipe contest and a pineathlon.

Trinidad’s best talent will be on display from June 1 to 9 at the annual We Beat Festival, which showcases the island’s talent in steelpan, calypso and other forms of music.

Cuba takes the spotlight from June 4 to 9 when the Hemingway International Nautical Club hosts the International Hemingway Fishing Tournament.

Hemingway started the event in 1950 while living on the island.

From Cuba, hop across to Jamaica from June 10 to 14 for the Ocho Rios Jazz Festival, where you can dance at free daily jazz jams, a ska and reggae night, and treat yourself at the jazz cocktail and food fair.

June 29 to July 2 sees an explosion of music at the St Kitts Music Festival. Past acts have included Shaggy, Yolanda Adams and Air Supply.

Bring June to a close in St Vincent from June 29 to July 10 at Vincy Mas, the island’s popular Carnival. The theme this year is “Power of Culture, Spirit of Fun, 30 years in the July sun”.