The Anguilla Summer Festival—otherwise known as the nation’s biggest holiday—is celebrated in commemoration of Caribbean slaves’ freedom. Though the island’s Emancipation day is traditionally celebrated on August 1st, the festival runs from the end of July through the first week of August. Tourists and locals alike are promised vibrant colors, upbeat outfits, and an atmosphere of total celebration.
In 1940 the festival activity was a boat race, but then evolved into a week-long Caribbean beach party. Activities include fireworks, parades, pageants, concerts, boat racing, and a whole boatload more.
The opening night of the week-long party typically starts with firework displays. The fireworks are presented on various beaches along with music and other celebrations.
The “Round the Island” Boat Race is one of Anguilla’s largest presentations. Boat races are held on Anguilla’s most pristine beaches: Sandy Ground and Meads Bay. This event is for the competitive participants who aren’t afraid of a little splash!
Perhaps one of the most anticipated events of the festival is the Miss Anguilla Queen Pageant. The crown is awarded to women that symbolize strength and beauty, among other qualities. Contestants must be ages 18 to 25, unmarried, without children, and a resident of Anguilla.
Other events like concerts, street dancing, and parades are also endeavors the party partakers can look forward to.
Though the festival was canceled in 2020 due to COVID-19, this summer, Anguilla was able to host a restricted version of the event. Next year there are plans for the festival to make its full return!
All in all, the people of the island celebrate freedom and culture in a unique way. The festival has been a tradition for decades and has no plans to let up.