GEORGE TOWN, Grand Cayman -- Continental Airlines' new service from Houston to Grand Cayman, effective May 2, will coincide with the launch of the destination's quincentennial celebrations, marking 500 years of recorded history and culture.

The new service will depart Houston on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 1:15 p.m., arriving in Grand Cayman at 4:40 p.m. The return flights depart Grand Cayman at 4:40 p.m., arriving Houston at 7:30 p.m. The carrier also offers daily service between Newark and Grand Cayman.

The quincentennial celebrations are a year-long series of events, festivities and projects. For a full calendar of events, visit

The following is a sampling of events through November:

• May 1 to 4, Batabano Carnival 2003. Events include a Minister's Carnival Ball & Fete at Pedro St. James Castle on May 1, a Soca Fete on May 2 and a Cayman Carnival costume parade, street dance and soca song finals on May 3.

• May 8, launch of the Maritime Heritage Trail at the National Museum.

• May 9 to 11, Seafarer's Festival. Events include Old Salts' Tales, Tall Ships and displays of catboats and classic yachts.

• May 10, unveiling of the Wall of History. The project celebrates the political, historical and cultural contributions of various Caymanians. The Cayman Islands Turtle Farm on Grand Cayman also will reopen May 10.

• June 27 and 28, Cayman International Festival. The event will highlight the music, food and art of the 94 nationalities residing in the islands.

• July 19, Cayman 500 Street Bazaar. Local crafts, food and entertainment take place in George Town.

• Aug. 7, Cayman Airways' 35th anniversary.

• Sept. 24, quincentennial commemorative coins are unveiled.

• Oct. 24 to Nov. 2, Pirates Week Festival in George Town.

• Nov. 10, opening and dedication of Quincentennial Square in George Town and the debut of the Cayman Maritime History Exhibit at the National Museum in George Town.

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