We spent 10 hours in the newly refurbished Wilhelminapark on Friday, to celebrate the island’s flag day with the local and tourist population.
It kicked off with speeches, which we gave a miss, as we don’t speak the language but arrived with our friends from ‘Coho’ to see the bands, fire-eater and stunt cyclist. It was a brilliant day! The atmosphere was light-hearted and happy, there was plenty of space to sit under the shady marquee and we didn’t see anyone drunk or rowdy.
The Bonaire bike club had a parade slot in the morning and there were lots of gorgeous bikes everywhere, many festooned with flags.
All the bands were very good and the music is definitely more Latin American than Soca or Caribbean here. Some of the outfits were interesting too but our favourite band was ‘Crème de la Crème’ who did a great version of ‘Blowing in the Wind’.
The cyclist was very persistent, fell off his bike several times but got a huge roar from the crowd when he finally completed his somersault on the bike and landed on the wheels. Somehow I managed to capture his feat and his shadow in the photo.
Lots of local stalls with hand made crafts, cake and jewellery plus chicken, ribs, etc all through the day and evening. The beer was only 1 US$! One open sided lorry went by with another band playing and their speakers were certain to make sure most of the island heard them. We have seen cars with almost as many speakers in St Lucia 🙂 They do love their music in the Caribbean, until 4am sometimes and at full volume!
It was wonderful to see the flags everywhere, people enjoying their day off and a real sense of love for their island. It was also good to see people doing whatever they wanted, older people on their own just getting up in front of the crowd to dance, one lovely gentleman asking the ladies to dance and not seeming to care than none did, bless him. There were children on the stage whilst the band was mid set and nobody minded. Just great.
The cruisers came out in force, so we caught up with lots of friends, went to Gio’s ice cream parlour and met up at Karel’s bar for a sundowner before heading back to the party to listen to the last few bands. A memorable day and we felt lucky to be here. Like the launch of the Carriacou sloop at Easter, we pinch ourselves and count our lucky stars to be here, living this life and feeling so much part of the local community on days like this.