Barbados is gearing up for another action-packed year with the unveiling of its 2010 Calendar of Festivals & Events. With lively music, performing arts and film festivals, as well as exciting surfing, polo, cricket, domino, golf and horse racing tournaments throughout the year, there has never been a better reason to visit Barbados.
Hike Barbados – Starting in January, every Sunday through December
Guests experience the natural beauty of Barbados by hiking through the very middle of its cane fields, gullies, tropical forests and coastal communities. Hikes are scheduled weekly and depart each Sunday morning and afternoon from different locations on the island, lasting three hours in duration. Morning hikes, departing at 6am, vary in intensity based on hikers’ experience levels and taste, starting with the two mile long “Grin and Bear”, the six mile long “Stop and Stare” and nine mile long “Medium” and “Fast Medium” treks. Afternoon hikes start at 3:30 p.m. and Moonlight Hikes begin at 5:30 p.m. and both follow the “Stop and Stare” route. Hike Barbados is a free activity, but gladly accepts donations to help the Barbados National Trust preserve the built and natural environment.
Barbados Jazz Festival –January 11-17
Bringing some of the best local, national and international jazz performers to the stage, this annual event is popular with jazz aficionados and attracts music fans from all over the world. Concerts take place at various venues across the island.
Open House Program – Starting in January, every Wednesday through March
Sponsored by the Barbados National Trust, this program provides entry into rich historic homes that reveal a range of lifestyles, architecture and historical features, giving locals and island visitors the opportunity to visit private properties that usually remain closed to the general public.
Slam-a-Dom Extravaganza – January 21, 23, 24
Slam-a-Dom is the annual international tournament, created by competition domino players to promote the sport. The sport of dominos is not only a favorite pastime of Barbadians, but one that they excel at and have even claimed the World Champion title. The competition is played in both four-hand and three-hand formats and winners are rewarded with monetary prizes.
Barbados Horticultural Society Annual Flower Show – January 30-31
Held at the Ball Plantation in Christ Church, this popular two-day show offers visitors the opportunity to see an incredible range of flower displays and show gardens. Barbados has won 12 gold medals in the Queen’s Gold Medal at the famous Chelsea Flower Show in London and continues as a leader in international floral competitions. The Annual Flower and Garden Show, which is organized by the Barbados Horticultural Society, includes live musical performances, trade stalls and numerous food and drink stalls.
Waterman Festival – February 6-7
The Waterman Festival lasts for three weekends and celebrates surfing, windsurfing and kite surfing with an exciting series of competitive events. Activities take place all over the island with most events composed of invited professionals, but amateurs and touring professionals also have the opportunity to participate. Hot social events are the surfer buffet and the sunset "deAction Beach Party" at Brian Talma's ‘Irie Man Action Shop’ in Silver Rock.
Holetown Festival – February 14-21
The week-long celebrations of the Holetown Festival kick-off with a bang at the Holetown Monument in the centre of the town. The event marks the arrival of the first settlers at the site now known as Holetown on February 17, 1627. The festival provides visitors with an introduction to Barbadian culture and traditions through a varied program that includes concerts, live music, street parades, beauty pageants, craft fairs, historical exhibitions, sporting competitions and food and drink events.
Sandy Lane Gold Cup – March 6
From its humble beginning in 1982 the Barbados Gold Cup, sponsored for the first fifteen years by Cockspur Rum and since 1997 by Sandy Lane Hotel, has grown to be the most prestigious and significant horse racing event in the Caribbean.
Holders Season – March 6-27
Barbados’ exciting season of opera, classical, jazz, Latin and Caribbean music which takes place in the open air gardens of historic Holders Plantation House, owned by Wendy Kidd. The 2010 line up includes professionals from across the globe comprising a world-class program of artistes.
Barbados Polo Open – March 14-21
These two tournaments, which are jointly sponsored by the Barbados Tourism Authority (BTA) and Columbian Emeralds, in association with Simpson Motors, Mount Gay Rum, Raffles Resort, Terra Caribbean Ltd, Barbados National Bank, Ocean 2 and Courtesy Garage, feature some of the top names in international polo over the course of these four-match series.
Barbados Game Fishing Association International Tournament – March 27-30
Anglers from Europe, the U.K., Canada, North & South America and compete with regional anglers to land Blue Marlin, Yellow Fin Tuna and Wahoo at this exciting annual competition.
Oistins Fish Festival – April 3-5
Held in the scenic fishing town of Oistins Barbados’ south coast, the annual Oistins Fish Festival is a day of celebrations for those that work in the local fishing industry. Visitors can expect live calypso and reggae music, craft fairs, family games and stalls selling delicious seafood dishes. Popular events and attractions include the fish boning tournament, boat races and the fun grease-pole competition.
Sir Garfield Sobers Festival of Golf – April 23-25
One of the biggest and best-loved golfing events on the island, the annual Sir Garfield Sobers Festival of Golf is a four-day tournament. Lured by the fine courses, hospitality and prospect of great weather, the festival attracts players from all over the world. Golfers compete in teams of four and there is also a ladies' competition. The festival is hosted and compared by Sir Garfield Sobers, the legendary Barbadian cricketer.
Mount Gay Regatta – May 13-16
The annual Mount Gay Regatta in Barbados offers visitors the chance to experience great sailing, entertainment and hospitality. Events kick off with a barbecue on the registration evening and then continue throughout the weekend with plenty if aquatic activities and entertainment. The regatta comes to a close on the Sunday evening with a big party and awards ceremony.
Barbados International Masters Football Festival – May 20-24
Attracting teams from across the Caribbean, America and Europe, the Barbados International Masters Football Festival bring a close to the island’s domestic season. Played over the Whitsuntide weekend, the soccer tournament attracts a lot of senior players who still have the energy, passion and enthusiasm for the game. In addition to the soccer, attractions, live entertainment and a legendary beer tent draw crowds.
Gospelfest – May 22-30
Featuring top local, regional and international gospel talent, the annual Barbados Gospelfest is one of the most popular Christian music festivals in the Caribbean. The event was first held in 1993 and covers different styles ranging from traditional gospel choir music to a modern gospel DJ set.
Sol Rally Barbados – May 29-30
Sol Rally Barbados 2010 is the 21st running of the Barbados Rally Club's premier two-day tarmac rally event and the Caribbean's biggest annual International motor sport occasion.
Crop Over Festival – July 3 – August 2
Crop Over is Barbados' biggest, loudest and best-loved festival which sees the whole island taken over by the party spirit. Dating back to the 1780s when the island was one of the biggest sugar producers in the world, the end of the sugar cane harvest was always celebrated with a big party, and the tradition continues today with added extravagance and flamboyance. The festival culminates with the ceremonial delivery of the last sugar canes of the harvest and the crowning of the carnival king and queen. Events continue for the next five weeks and revelers can expect a heavy mix of live music, dancing, carnivals, markets, cultural presentations and more. Kadooment Day – August 3: This celebratory day marks the end of Crop Over in Barbados with a festival and parade, complete with bright costumes, music and plenty of rum.
Banks International Hockey Festival – August 22-28
Attracting teams not only from the Caribbean but from Europe, the US, South America and other parts of the world, the Banks International Hockey Festival is a real international affair. The tournament is divided into men’s, women’s, veterans and mixed-team divisions and the games are fiercely contested. Although, a friendly atmosphere pervades throughout the festival and there is plenty of entertainment for guests.
National Independence Festival of the Creative Arts – October 2010 – dates TBD
NIFCA showcases the artistic talents of Barbadians and encourages Barbadians of all ages to showcase their talents in the fields of music, singing, dance, drama, writing, fine art, photography, arts and crafts. The festival runs throughout November and concludes with a gala presentation.
Sun, Sea & Slams International Bridge Festival – October 19-23
Bridge fans from all over the world come each year to this fun, yet competitive, festival. The festival features events for pairs and teams, as well as championship matches and concludes with an awards dinner.
Sizzlin’ Sand Barbados Sunsplash Volleyball – November 6-7
The best beach volleyball teams from across the Caribbean, including teams from Canada go head to head with the best of Barbados in this tournament for prize money.
Barbados International Film Festival – December 1-5
This annual festival brings together the best of world cinema and international film culture and provides a major showcase for the exhibition of the Caribbean, Latin America and world-wide independent film.
Run Barbados – December 3-5
The Run Barbados festival takes place annually on the first weekend in December. The event comprises a 10k, a Half-Marathon, and a Marathon.
For more information on travel to Barbados, visit www.visitbarbados.org, or contact the Barbados Tourism Authority at 800-221-9831.