Festivities prove Bermuda not just sand & sun

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HAMILTON, Bermuda -- Some visitors may prefer to spend their days on the island swinging in a hammock, but others are drawn to Bermuda by the desire to pick up a racket -- or at least to watch others swing theirs.

A spring sojourn to this British isle in the Atlantic offers plenty of opportunities for fans of tennis, golf and sailing to watch the professionals polish their moves.

But aficionados of film, art and culture will find plenty of events to entertain them, as well. For more information about these and other Bermuda events, visit www.bermudatourism.com.

Among the island's more popular happenings are:

March 5 to 11: 7th Annual Ladies Pro-Am Golf Classic. A maximum of 18 teams, each team consisting of three female amateurs and one female golf professional, play for fun and prizes. For more information, phone (800) 343-4155.

March 19 to 25: International Film Festival. Filmmakers and film lovers from around the world descend on Hamilton theaters to view independent films and documentaries at this annual event. Festival passes as well as individual screening tickets can be purchased by visitors, who also may attend opening night and wrap-up parties. For more information, visit www.bermudafilmfest.com.

April 9: Kite Festival. Kite flying on Good Friday is a Bermuda tradition. Following an early church and song service, families gather at Horseshoe Bay in Southampton to rig their tails. Kite competitions, games and food are all part of the festivities.

April 7 to Oct. 27 (Wednesdays only): Hamilton Harbor Nights. A festival atmosphere engulfs Front Street as street performers, artists, food sellers and shopkeepers take to the street to strut -- and peddle -- their stuff. The party lasts late into the night.

April 19 to 25: The XL Capital Bermuda Open. The world's top tennis players come to Bermuda for this top-notch clay-court tournament. The Coral Beach and Tennis Club offers some 8,000 spectators the chance to see stars such as Andy Roddick in a cozy setting. For more information, call (441) 296-2554 or visit www.xlcapitalbermudaopen.bm.

April 22 to 24: Bermuda Annual Exhibition. The island's livestock, vegetables, flowers, handmade crafts and local talent are showcased at this annual agricultural and cultural event. The exhibition is at the Bermuda Botanical Garden.

April 24 to May 1: International Race Week. Assorted sailing crafts -- from J/24s to Comets -- race across Great Sound at this annual boating event sponsored by the Bermuda Yacht Club. Participants from the U.S., U.K., Canada and other countries compete with Bermudians for prizes. For more information, visit www.rbyc.bm.

May 1 to 31: Heritage Month. This monthlong event focuses on the country's heritage. The highlight is Bermuda Day, May 24, when a parade winds through the streets of Hamilton before depositing revelers in Bernard Park for entertainment and food.

May 16: Open House and Gardens Tour. History lovers won't want to miss this event, which includes tours of some of Bermuda's loveliest private homes and gardens. Tickets can be purchased at the doors of the houses for $15 for adults, $6 for children.

June 18: Newport Bermuda Yacht Race 2004. This is the "big" race that begins at the mouth of Narragansett Bay in Newport, R.I., and concludes at the southeastern tip of Bermuda. For more information about the 44th biennial event, visit www.bermudarace.com.

To contact the reporter who wrote this story, send e-mail to [email protected] .

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