Barbados announces 1999 Crop Over Festival lineup

BRIDGETOWN -- Barbados is celebrating the annual Crop Over Festival with parades, parties, craft markets, food festivals and concerts that give visitors a chance to celebrate the island's culture.

The Grand Kadooment festival, Barbados. Many of the most festive events are held during the last week of July, leading up to the festival's grand finale Aug. 2. Crop Over is a time for Barbados to commemorate some of its most important historical milestones, according to the Barbados Tourism Authority.

Dating to the 18th century, Crop Over marked the final reaping of the season's sugar cane harvest and is one of the oldest festivals in the Caribbean. After completing the harvest, Barbadian slaves celebrated by dancing, feasting and parading mule-drawn carts across the sugar plantations.

In the 1940s, when the Barbadian sugar industry declined, the festival ceased. The tradition was revived in 1974 when Barbados reintroduced the event to celebrate the rich cultural traditions of this island nation.

The following is a list of Crop Over activities:

  • At the Fine Craft Exhibition and Festival, crafts are for sale. It is set for July 24 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Trafalgar Square. Bajan artists exhibit their work at Queen's Park Gallery through Aug. 2.
  • A Fine Art & Photography Exhibition is at the Grande Salle at the Tom Adams Financial Centre through July 30.
  • Folk and Gospel Music concerts trace the island's cultural and social development, according to the BTA. Performances are scheduled for July 27 and 28 at the Sherbourne Conference Centre in Bridgetown.
  • Two Calypso events are scheduled. The Pic-O-De-Crop Calypso Competition, an integral part of Crop Over, brings together calypso hopefuls who will perform their best songs on July 25 on East Coast Road in St. Andrew. On July 30, at the National Stadium, finalists will vie for the title of "Calypso Monarch" at the Pic-O-De-Crop Finals.
  • On July 31, the Bridgetown Market will feature Bajan cuisine, indigenous arts and crafts, a steel band festival and a Tuk band competition. Tuk is a form featuring comically dressed minstrels playing a trio of rhythm instruments. Their repertoire begins with a slow waltz, shifts into a marching tune influenced by British military percussion and concludes with a frenzied African beat. The diversity of the Tuk bands' music demonstrates the combination of historical influences in Barbados, according to the BTA.
  • The grand finale of the Crop Over Festival is Grand Kadooment on Aug. 2, a pageant in which locals form groups representing themes of Barbadian life, dress in colorful masks and costumes and dance before judges and spectators in the National Stadium in St. Michael.
  • Local children host their own Junior Kadooment July 24 at the National Stadium, when they present the costumes and masks they have prepared over the year. Visitors can participate in Kadooment by joining one of the costume groups. After the parade, the celebration takes to the streets with dancing to calypso and soca music and fireworks displays.

    Travelers to Barbados for Crop Over can take advantage of the Barbados Super Saver program, designed to boost sales in the summer and shoulder season, according to the BTA.

    For example, at the Caribbee Beach Hotel and Beach Club, a five-night package is priced at $625 per person, and includes roundtrip air, hotel accommodations, airport transfers in Barbados, hotel taxes and service charges.

    The packages include savings on sightseeing tours; admission to attractions, and car rentals in addition to discounts on roundtrip air and hotel transfers, free first night of accommodations during a minimum five-night stay, a full breakfast daily and an authentic Bajan outdoor dinner on select evenings at Oistin's Fishing Village.

    The packages are offered for travel through Dec. 10 with no blackout periods.

    Barbados Tourism Authority

    Phone: (888) BARBADOS

    Web: www.barbados.org

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