Despite the heavy rains that surrounded the first weekend in December, the holiday spirit of Festival Noel was not dampened. “We are astonished and thrilled with the turnout,” said Lakeshia Anderson, Grand Bahama Parks Manager. “We changed our whole layout at 10am the morning of Festival Noel and we got everyone under cover!”
Rain was forecast for the entire weekend but it held up for the 21st Annual Festival Noel, which is a Grand Bahama staple event during the holiday season. Over 300 residents turned out to attend the wine tasting, art show and Chef Noel competition, which supports the Grand Bahama branch of the Bahamas National Trust.
“It was a great night despite the rain,” said Karin Sanchez, Festival Noel Committee Member and BNT Council member. “At 7pm we had over 100 people ready to go in and the flow just did not stop. Everyone was saying they would never miss this event!”
This year, with the move inside, restaurants were placed in the Glory Harris Banks Art gallery, doubled up in the Exhibit Room and moved to the back of the Rand Nature Centre facility, which was tented to also accommodate the bands and Bahamian Brewery and Beverage. Performances by Derek Gape and Steve Persaud started out the evening beautifully, with ‘2 Left Feet’ getting the dancing and singing going.
Seven restaurants and caterers participated in the Chef Noel competition including Dive-In Restaurant and Bar, Agave, New Life Vegetation, Chocolatess Island Delights, Better Than Roses, Señor Frogs and Bahamas Adventures – a first time Festival Noel participant. Ten artists including guest artist, Matt Wild and over 30 wines were also featured.
“It’s a lot of hard work on the day,” said Carlynn Sands, Bristol Wines and Spirits Marketing Manager, “but we were ready for the early crowds and despite the weather the 21st year was another success for Bristol and our partners, the BNT.”
The night ended on a high note as the big Grand Prize was announced, with the winners being Sue and Sean McCrea. Participants donated twenty dollars to wear fun antlers that lit up and were entered to win over ten prizes including: dinner for two at Agave, drinks for two at Bones, weekend for two at Pelican Bay, dinner for two at Pier 1/East, one bottle of Bellinger Brut Champagne courtesy of Bristol Wines and Spirits, his and hers gift basket from Perfume Factory, dolphin swim for two from UNEXSO, kayak trip for two to Peterson Cay from Calabash Eco Adventures and a BNT Annual Family Membership.
“We thought it would be a fun way to earn some funds for the Trust,” said Sarah Kirkby, Festival Noel Committee member. “We sold out by 8:30pm and it was fun to see the antlers all over the event. It added some nice Christmas spirit.”
To see more pictures on the event please visit the BNT Facebook page. “A huge thanks to all who came out,” said Anderson. “The support from the community, sponsors and friends makes it all worth it.”