Wine & Art Festival and Jollification re-imagined: BNT festivals take to the virtual platform in the age of COVID-19

The Wine & Art Festival and Jollification are staples in the Bahamian community, signaling the start of the festive season, but in the era of COVID-19, festival season has had to be re-imagined. While some festivals were not able to regroup to pull off a version of their event, others have been able to pivot with the times to stage a re-imagined “gathering” of sorts, to ensure the year is not total bust.

The Bahamas National Trust’s (BNT) organizers of the wildly popular Wine & Art Festival and Jollification simply could not imagine not having an event at all, and have come together to produce a festival which they will take to the online platform to be known as Parks Fest, a virtual festival of Bahamian art and crafts.

Parks Fest will celebrate Wine & Art and Jollification in the form of a seven-day virtual festival of Bahamian art and crafts, from November 16-22.

Just as patrons would be able to browse vendor displays at the BNT for both events, in the Parks Fest format, virtual festival attendees will still be able to browse and shop, and will still be able to participate in the silent auction as well as other online activities and virtually visit event sponsors in the virtual market place for special promotions.

More than 60 Bahamian vendors will showcase fine art, crafts and goods in a digital marketplace.

Part proceeds from Parks Fest will support The Retreat Gardens.

Jason McDowell, BahamasLocal.com CEO and president, was approached by Lynn Gape, BNT special projects consultant, and Urmie Braynen, BNT events coordinator, upon the advice of Maydi Bacallo, a long-time vendor, to seek advice on what could possibly be done for the loyal festival vendors and the BNT, seeing as Wine & Art and Jollification could not happen this year due to COVID restrictions. And both festivals are the BNT’s main fundraisers.

After long conversations with Gape, Braynen and Bacallo, McDowell said, they came up with the idea of a virtual marketplace which they would call the Bahamas National Trust Parks Fest.

“Bahamas Local has always been proud to support the BNT and this is just another way of showing our support,” said McDowell. “Eric [Carey], BNT executive director, Lynn and the whole BNT do a great job in preserving the parks.”

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Shavaughn Moss

Shavaughn Moss joined The Nassau Guardian as a sports reporter in 1989. She was later promoted to sports editor. Shavaughn covered every major athletic championship from the CARIFTA to Central American and Caribbean Championships through to World Championships and Olympics. Shavaughn was appointed as the Lifestyles Editor a few years later.

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