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There are a lot of special events happening on Grand Bahama year-round. Check local calendars and advertisements for the latest postings, but here are a few to get you started.
On New Year's Day, the huge Junkanoo Parade takes place in downtown Freeport at about 6:00 PM and goes on nearly until dawn, though the exact schedule may vary. This is the biggest Junkanoo event of the year, a real peek into this exciting part of Bahamian culture. Dancers in extravagant costumes jive to rhythmic drumbeats - it's like the Bahamian version of Carnaval. Junior Junkanoo takes place in either December or January, and is the youngster's version of the parade, with all ages of youths participating from all over The Bahamas. Both are must-sees for tourists looking to experience the most important cultural event of the year in Grand Bahama.
Early February is the Wahoo Championship, followed by the Billfish Championship in early March and the Mahi Mahi tournament in April. You can either compete, or watch the fishermen bring in their fish to weigh at Count Basie Square at Port Lucaya Marketplace.
On Easter Sunday, the annual beach party called Big Tings a Poppin' takes place. Locations and times vary, the event is largely unadvertised, but is much like an MTV-style Spring Break party with a mostly young, native audience.
The following Monday, the Pelican Point Coconut Festival takes place about 1.5 hours drive east of Port Lucaya in the tiny community of Pelican Point. Natives and tourists from all over the island join to eat native food, dance to native Rake N Scrape and Reggae music, watch a miniature Junkanoo parade, and participate in all kinds of family-friendly contests. As with most festivals in The Bahamas, the party is at the beach, so bring a swimsuit!
The huge Grand Bahama Junkanoo Summer Festival spans over 5 weeks of summer, normally in July and early August. Local bands jam at various locations, but especially Taino Beach Park, as residents take part in song contests and other festivities. In early June, there is the annual Grand Bahama Island Sailing Regatta; as the sloops race around the island, those who remain on shore celebrate with dance, music and food.
In mid-October, head East to McLean's Town, where the Conch Cracking Festival takes place. On Halloween, there is trick or treating and family fun in Port Lucaya Marketplace. Mid-November featuers the Conchman Triathlon, where athletes from all over the Bahamas compete in swimming, biking, and running. The first week of December don't miss the Christmas Tree Lighting Festival in Count Basie Square at Port Lucaya Marketplace, where Santa will be joining you. Also that week is the annual Festival Noel at the Rand Nature Centre, where you can partake in food from around the island, wine, browse art, hear music and participate in silent auctions.
New Year's Eve is a blast on Grand Bahama. It seems everyone is in Count Basie Square for fireworks, live bands, and entertainment, but there are a ton of private parties going on as well. Everywhere from Sabor to the Casino is having their own New Years Party in addition to the party in the square.