John Watlings Distillery came alive with authentic Bahamian culture on February 11 when hundreds of locals and visitors came to Delancy Street for the ‘Tru Tru Bahamian Festival.’
As expected, ‘Tru Tru’ delivered on a variety of Bahamian food, arts and craft and entertainment.
The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism sponsored the event, which was a production of the Bahamas Hotel Tourism Association (BHTA).
Among the many patrons at the festival was Director General of Tourism Joy Jibrilu who lauded the high-spirited event.
“Two years ago the BHTA came to me with the idea for Tru Tru Bahamian Festival and it made sense. For the first year, the Tru Tru Bahamian Festival had 700 participants. This year, the number has far-exceeded that because people have come to an environment that is beautiful and that’s authentic Bahamian culture. Everything just adds up to a wonderful event,” she said.
“There are some partnerships that really work for the Ministry of Tourism and so an event like this where our artisans, cooks and musicians have an opportunity to display and sell their goods and the amount of visitors enjoying the festival speaks to how well it is growing and I hope it continues to align with our mission at the Ministry of Tourism.”
Vendors said they received ‘tru tru’ benefits from the festival.
Denise Worrell of naturally Bahamian was one of the many vendors who took advantage of the opportunity to showcase her goods.
“We wanted people to be aware of truly Bahamian things that are indigenous to our culture and so we have a variety of teas that we allow people to sample,” she said.
“We are happy to be a part of this because there are so many things that pretend to be naturally Bahamian and this festival captures what is truly Bahamian. We have such a vast variety of talent and it is uplifting to be a part of this.”
Grace Covedalle and John Noble are two visitors from the United Kingdom who enjoyed the event tremendously.
“We’ve been stopping at out-of-town locations and it’s been nice to see people are doing something authentic and using the materials in the country,” Ms. Covedalle said.
“It’s nice to see the variety that you have here with the music and the food,” Mr. Noble said.
Kevin and Judy Jelinek of Milwaukee also enjoyed the festival.
“This is very interesting. This is beautiful craft and art and there is lots to see,” Ms. Jelinek said.
“One of the best parts of The Bahamas is its music. So we are hoping people like us who are sailors will come down to experience this.”
The date was originally scheduled for November 2016, but after Hurricane Matthew stormed through The Bahamas, organizers wanted to give everyone a chance to recoup.
Chairman of the Tru Tru Festival Carlton Francis said he is happy with the growth Tru Tru Bahamian Festival has had this month.
“It has really grown over the last year,” he said. “We have so many adults and children enjoying truly authentic games. I really like the growth and hopefully we will see the festival spill into the streets of Charleston. We thank the Ministry of Tourism, the Out Island Promotion Board and the Paradise Island Promotion Board and our committee that has worked tirelessly on this. I think February is a better month and we hope to see it grow.”
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