Summer festivals are heating up the Caribbean once again

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Barbados welcomes the return of its Crop Over Festival in July and August.
Barbados welcomes the return of its Crop Over Festival in July and August. Photo Credit: Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc.

Summer festival season is back in the Caribbean.

After a two-year hiatus due to Covid, the region is brimming once again with dance, brilliant costumes, music, regattas, rum, food and sights and sounds in events that showcase the diversity of the islands.

Here's a look at some of the biggest and boldest:

The 27th Reggae Sumfest returns from July 18 to 23 in Montego Bay. Jamaica's premier music festival coincides with the country's yearlong celebration of the 60th anniversary of its independence. Underscoring the importance of Sumfest, tourism minister Edmund Bartlett said, "Reggae Sumfest is known to be the greatest reggae show in the world. Jamaica is its birthplace, so we are excited to be partners in this to make sure that more and more people come to us."

Bartlett said Jamaica is using Sumfest to open new markets in the Emirates, Asia, North Africa and the Middle East.

Visit www.reggaesumfest.com for tickets, artist lineups and other info.

The Nevis Culturama Festival celebrates its 48th anniversary July 21 to Aug. 2.
The Nevis Culturama Festival celebrates its 48th anniversary July 21 to Aug. 2. Photo Credit: Nevin Tourism Authority

The 22nd annual Taste of St. Croix, set for June 23 at the Divi Carina Bay Resort & Casino, is a foodie fest that features 50 of the island's best-known chefs, bartenders and baristas serving a variety of recipes inspired by local traditions.

Favorites include fish and fungi, callaloo stew, johnnycakes, an iced fruit treat called fracos and pate, a flakey crust filled with saltfish, chicken or beef. To  learn more, go to www.tasteofstcroix.com.

Barbados' Crop Over Festival, which marks the end of the sugar cane growing season, is back on the calendar in July and August with parties, parades, live music, street vendors, market stalls and food trucks. Most of the events take place in the capital of Bridgetown.

Crop Over culminates with Grand Kadooment Day on Aug. 1 when costumed revelers parade through the streets from morning until night.

Prime minister Mia Amor Mottley announced earlier this year that Barbados will have a modified Crop Over this year without sacrificing enjoyment and safety. "We are happy for this because we know that after two years of no Crop Over and no release, people are more than waiting for this opportunity." Go to www.barbadoscropoverfestival.com to find out more.

Montserrat's Calabash Festival, which takes place from July 17 to 23, celebrates the tropical hard-shelled vegetable.
Montserrat's Calabash Festival, which takes place from July 17 to 23, celebrates the tropical hard-shelled vegetable. Photo Credit: Montserrat Tourism

Montserrat's annual Calabash Festival, which takes place from July 17 to 23, is named for the tropical hard-shelled vegetable that can be harvested young to be eaten or  harvested mature to be dried and used as a utensil or bowl.

This year's festival features a grand gospel concert, bus and boat tours of the island, an Irish lecture series, a market day, a food fair, a hike and a road relay race.  The website www.visitmontserrat.com has more details about the festival.

The weekly Thursday Fish Fry at PTV Stubbs Diamond Plaza on Providenciales in Turks and Caicos runs throughout the summer season. The open-air setting features more than a dozen restaurant and souvenir vendors, live music and cultural performances.

Provo will also be the locale for the Race for the Conch mile and half-mile swim races on June 25. Proceeds from the race through the waters of Grace Bay go to local charities. More info can be found at www.turksandcaicostourism.com.

Turks and Caicos is also inviting visitors to the TI Summajam June 23 to 25 on Grand Turk. Rita Gardiner, director of the Summajam Committee, says the three-day music and cultural event promises to "bring back the good ol' Grand Turk days with a dazzling, dynamic display of culture, music, entertainment, island food/drink, sporting competitions, a beauty pageant, talent show and fun for all ages from 2 to 92." To learn more about events, visit the Turks and Caicos tourism site.

Anguilla's Summer Festival, scheduled for July 29 to Aug. 7, includes the Eyes Wide Shut concert at Sandy Ground,parades, costumed revelers, street fairs, road races and the Champion of Champions Boat Race. Go to www.carnivaland.net/anguilla-summer-festival.

Dates for the 25th St. Kitts Music Festival are June 23 to 25, and this year's lineup features R&B and rap headliners Sean Paul, Beres Hammond, Wale and Keyshia Cole.

Music genres range from reggae and dancehall to hip hop, soca and jazz. Performances take place at the Kim Collins Athletic Stadium in Basseterre. Bonus events include lunchtime concerts with local musicians, beach parties, boat rides and official after-parties. Go to stkittsmusicfestival.com to learn more.

There's a lot happening on the neighboring sister island of Nevis, as well. The Mango and Food Festival, July 1 to 3, is an entire weekend celebrating the island's 44 varieties of mangoes and the creative cuisine made from them. Participating celebrity chefs and Nevisian chefs must prepare every course of every meal they cook or demonstrate must include Nevis mangos. Multiple events take place throughout the weekend. Find out more at nevisisland.com/mango-festival/.

The Nevis Culturama Festival, meanwhile, celebrates its 48th anniversary from July 21 to Aug. 2. As the name suggest, Nevisian culture in all its forms is celebrated here, including dance, drama, poetry, music, pageants and arts and crafts. Visit www.nevisculturama.com.

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