Stepping into Christmas at Festival Noël 2023
Freeport, Grand Bahama – December 5th, 2023
Under the starlit sky of Grand Bahama, the Rand Nature Centre transformed into a vibrant canvas of culture and community as Festival Noël 2023 unfolded in a spectacle of colour, taste, and sound. Now in its 28th year, the Festival Noël Fundraiser is an extraordinary fusion of artistic brilliance and culinary mastery, capturing the essence of Bahamian heritage and showcasing it in a magnificent display of community pride and joy. The beloved community event attracted a large crowd, who came to “Step into Christmas” at their favourite holiday celebration.
The grounds of the Rand Nature Centre were alive with energy, Christmas lights, and holiday joy as attendees indulged in over 35 international wines provided by the event’s title sponsors, Bahamian Brewery and Jimmy’s Wines & Spirits, enjoyed delicacies from Grand Bahama’s finest chefs, and purchased art and crafts from local vendors.
This year’s Festival Noel was a feast for the taste buds, and the Chef Noel and Sweet Noel competition was undoubtedly a highlight. Featuring an array of dishes from Grand Bahama’s best chefs and bakers, the competition was a close and exhilarating race. Attendees had the unique opportunity to select the Top Chef and Top Baker of the night, casting their votes digitally. The competition culminated in a thrilling finale, where Miskas Catering Services emerged victorious in the savoury category, and Chocolatess claimed the top spot in the pastry category. Their culinary skills delighted the attendees’ palates and showcased our local chefs’ extraordinary talent and creativity.
At the heart of Festival Noel 2023 was an extraordinary showcase of art and local craftsmanship. The festival featured an impressive collection of works from various talented local artists, artisans and vendors, each telling a unique story of Bahamian culture. Dr. Kevin Bethel, renowned for his mesmerising oil pastel and watercolour paintings, captivating prints and drawings, was the distinguished featured artist of the year. His work transformed the Gloria Harris Banks Gallery into a true display of creative excellence.
Festival Noel 2023 once again brought back the much-loved Wheel of Joy and Antler Raffle, adding an element of anticipation to the night. The Wheel of Joy offered attendees the chance to spin their way to an array of incredible prizes, including gift certificates, local products and services, and even hotel and Airbnb stays. Meanwhile, the Antler Raffle presented a whimsical twist, with participants donning festive holiday antlers for a chance to win one of two grand prizes. The first prize was a lavish 2-night stay for 2 people at Baha Mar, including a spa and Sanctuary experience, lunch and dinner, along with guided tours to national parks on New Providence. The second prize was a one-of-a-kind commissioned painting by Dr. Kevin Bethel. These exciting activities added to the festival’s joyous atmosphere and are supported by several generous businesses.
All night, festival attendees enjoyed music from DJ Wally and live stage performances from the Conch Juice Band, Kelvin Harris, Jade Moya, and Varcy. Additionally, attendees were delighted by a live saxophone performance from Ricardo Major as they entered the event. As always, the Festival Noël dance floor came alive as attendees danced the night away.
Our Executive Director, a proud native of Grand Bahama, addressed the crowd, emphasising the importance of community engagement and how Festival Noël supports the BNT’s work in managing the three national parks of Grand Bahama.
“I am immensely proud of the success of Festival Noel 2023. This event not only showcased the rich cultural fabric and talent of Grand Bahama, but it also brought our community together in a celebration that supports the environment. Witnessing the joy and enthusiasm of everyone who joined us reaffirms our commitment to fostering a deeper connection between our community and the natural beauty of our national parks. I am profoundly grateful to our team, sponsors, and every attendee for making this event a vibrant symbol of what we can achieve together.” – said Lakeshia Anderson-Rolle, BNT Executive Director
“Bahamian Brewery and Jimmy’s Wines & Spirits are extremely proud to be a part of Festival Noel as we are huge supporters of the Bahamas National Trust,” said Gary Sands, General Manager of Bahamian Brewery. “We are so proud of the efforts made by the BNT for the betterment of our country’s ecosystems and land and sea parks. There is no question we want to be a corporate partner of the BNT. Grand Bahama is our home and is where our brewery is located. It’s extremely important for us to be part of this event to support the BNT, to give back to our community, and to thank everyone who supports us in Grand Bahama.”
We extend our deepest gratitude to our sponsors, Bahamian Brewery and Jimmy’s Wines & Spirits; Grand Bahama Port Authority; ALIV; Ministry of Tourism; Bahamas Maritime & Logistic Services; FOCOL; Bahama Wholesale Agency; Kelly’s Freeport; Grand Bahama Shipyard; Western Atlantic University School of Medicine; Grand Bahama Power Company; RBC Freeport; Caribbean Bottling; Sav-Mor Drugs; CG Atlantic Medical; Pure Drinking Water and Ice; Sunny Isles; Crown Ice; HG Christie, 242News Bahamas and Studio Create for their generous support of Festival Noel 2023. Their contributions were instrumental in the success of this year’s festival and in supporting the conservation efforts of Grand Bahama’s national parks.
Additionally, the BNT thanks these businesses for donating prizes to the Wheel of Joy and Antler Raffle: Baha Mar, Dr. Kevin Bethel, Ocean Reef Resort Yacht Club; Renu Day Spa, Delva’s Place AirBNB, Signature Choices, Lignum Vitae Market and Cafe, Green Gamut, Island Bedding, Ben Ferguson Jr, Pizza Hut Freeport, Bones Bar, Coral Vita, Stoned Crab, Labelle, Degregory’s Fine Food, BahaGala, GB Chiropractor, Paint Fair, Pure Water, ALIV, Events by Bella Donne, Kayak Nature Tours, Sun Sand and Swim and Amoro Port Lucaya.
As we wrap up Festival Noel 2023, we look back with pride at the joy and community spirit it brought to Grand Bahama. This event was more than just a celebration; it was a reflection of our island’s resilience, creativity, and communal harmony. We eagerly anticipate next year’s festival, where we will once again come together to celebrate the best of Grand Bahama.
The BNT would like to invite all attendees of Festival Noël 2023 to fill out our short event survey. Your feedback is crucial in helping us to continue to improve future events. Click this link for the survey. When you fill out the survey, you will be automatically entered into a raffle to win a $75.00 Gift Certificate from The Green Gamut!