The Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture announced Monday a proposed schedule of events for the first ever “12 Days of Christmas Festival” aimed at elevating Junkanoo and increasing exposure for Bahamians in the creative arts industry.
At a news conference at the ministry’s Thompson Boulevard office yesterday morning, Youth, Sports and Culture Minister Dr. Daniel Johnson said this event will play an integral role in bringing culture to where it should be in The Bahamas.
“This begins this year with the celebration Junkanoo as a major arts festival where we are now going to move away from a one-night event on Boxing and New Year’s to a series of events, which will last from the end of November to January 1,” Dr. Johnson said.
“So now you’ll move from Junkanoo being an event to Junkanoo being a season festival.”
The ministry has partnered with the newly formed National Junkanoo Committee to hold a wide-ranging series of events culminating on November 29 with a Christmas tree lighting and Junkanoo showdown in Rawson Square.
Dr. Johnson also revealed that the month of December will be declared by proclamation order, Junkanoo month.
There will be a National Day of Thanksgiving for the art form of Junkanoo observed on December 2.
Other new events will be the Jump in the Line party and parade entry drawing scheduled for December 8 and the Junkanoo Legends Circle Awards at Governor House on December 11.
“On December 14, we will have Stardom night and the Miss Bahamas Junkanoo Float Parade and costume judging,” the minister said. “On that night, we will also have the finals of the National Junkanoo Song Competition winners’ performances.”
Dr. Johnson said that the festival will provide an opportunity for aspiring entrepreneurs to find lucrative opportunities as well as re-establish ties with the corporate community.
“It is also allows us to get back involved with all our numerous corporate sponsors – Junkanoo used to have quite a few major sponsors but because you had a one-night event – you could only pack so much in to that one night now that we’re spreading this over several events that have different components for kids, for families, for adults, for entertainers, designers, you can see where this whole thing opens up for real sponsorship and real partnership in the creative art,” Dr. Johnson said.
The ministry said that it plans to unveil a new website with information about the festivities in the coming weeks.