Dominoes and drunk driving will highlight Blacktip Island’s inaugural culture and heritage festival this weekend. (photo courtesy of Jay Valve)
The inaugural Blacktip Island Culture and Heritage Festival is scheduled for various venues across the island this Saturday and Sunday to celebrate the small Caribbean island’s unique traditions, event organizers said.
“We thought it was high time someone shone a spotlight on how special this little island is,” Blacktip Island Culture Society president Doris Blenny said. “With tourism lagging, what better way to draw attention to us than a celebration of everything Blacktip’s about.
“We’re spreading events out over multiple sites and multiple days to give everyone a chance to attend,” Blenny said. “There’ll be things to see and do at the Heritage House, the public dock, multiple bars, and even the roadways. Both of them. We’ll also have the Blacktip Island Community Players performing flash-mob interpretive dances of everyday life. There’ll be something for everyone.”
Organizers stressed the variety of festival events.
“There’ll be domino competitions, of course,” BICS sergeant-at-arms Jay Valve said. “And fishing from the pier. There’s lots of contestants signed up for that. But we’ll also have a drinking booth on the dock, where the winner is the last one to fall into the sea, a making-up-gossip contest, and a poetry slam-style open mike where people can talk about all the things they plan to do but never get around to doing.
“The highlight’ll be the drunk driving demonstration, with points awarded for how far participants can drive without crashing into something, and how many beer bottles they can throw at people while driving,” Valve said. “Blacktip leads the world in single-vehicle accidents, so we’re embracing that. Everyone’s welcome. We’re hoping to get the kids involved in some of these activities, too. Except with the drinking. And drunk driving.”
Some residents questioned the need for the events.
“Blacktip Island culture and heritage is a bit of an oxymoron,” Helen Maples said. “It’s difficult to find either one here, frankly, unless you count arguing and fighting. And one can find that at any bar on a Saturday night. Truly, the most culture one will find on Blacktip is under Dermott Bottoms’ arm pits.”
Many, though, embraced the festival.
“Don’t know anything about culture, but it’s Blacktip. Folks’re always looking for something to do,” Reg Gurnard said. “Any excuse for a party, I suppose. That’s definitely island heritage.”