It wasn’t weird at all to see an adult showing a youngster the game of hopscotch over the weekend at John Watling’s Distillery, or the plaiting of the maypole, or children engaging in play that did not entail the use of an electronic device – because, after all, it was the Tru Tru Bahamian Festival at which all things Bahamian took center stage.
And you definitely can’t feature all things Bahamian without an appearance by the Royal Bahamas Police Force Band, or a Junkanoo rush out, Bahamian food and drink, art, craft and handmade straw products. Straw baskets created by traditional straw weaver Norma Jean Knowles, from Red Bays, Andros, were also the order of the day.
Over 70 Bahamian artisans showcased beautiful jewelry, candles, hot pepper sauces, teas, spices, honey and conch shell crafts; and the food was not to be forgotten with the staple Bahamian fare offered alongside “kicked up” Bahamian cuisine.
The annual Hot, Spicy and Flavorful Pepper contest, which was held for the second year, was a draw at the event, with Kira Horton of Wildcrafted Base Hot Pepper Sauces & Seasonings successfully defending her 2019 title and winning the 2020 “Most Flavorful Pepper Sauce”; Mama Sassy took home the honor in the Hot n’ Spicy category with her Mama Sassy Gourmet Hot Sauce.
At this year’s festival, the inaugural Tru Tru Bahamian Art Contest debuted with the theme “Tru Tru Bahamian Strong: What is it about Bahamian culture and customs that has made Bahamians into the strong, tenacious people we are today?” Six schools participated, showcasing artwork from students in grades seven through 12, with St. Anne’s School student Khaila Stuart winning the grades seven through eight category; her schoolmate Jade George winning the grade nine through 10 category; and St. Andrew’s School’s Savanah Chatton winning the grade 11 through 10 category. Honorary mentions went to Carlotta Casu, St. Andrews School, grade 7-8 category; Marcai Smith, St. Anne’s School, grade 9-10 category; and Joshua Munroe, St. Anne’s School, grade 11-10 category.
Ardastra Gardens and Wildlife Conservation Centre staff as well as Atlantis Dolphin Cay staff were also present at the festival with a Bahamian boa and baby sea turtles.
Carlton Russell, Bahamas Hotel Tourism Association (BHTA) president, said the Tru Tru Bahamian Festival is a labor of love produced by BHTA’s small team.
“We do it because we love what we do, and we continue to recognize how important it is to support our local Bahamian entrepreneurs, to promote and support Bahamian culture, traditions, customs as it is precisely those elements which make The Bahamas unique,” said Russell.