Anguilla Summer Festival is a cultural extravaganza of carnival activities by night, and boat racing, beach parties, concerts and street dancing by day. The 10-day event from August 3 – 11 celebrates a 45-year tradition of beach, boats and bacchanal that takes over the island of Anguilla each August.
A highlight of the Summer Festival is the Grand Parade of Troupes, on Friday, August 9, where local revelers dressed up in costumes jam around the capital, The Valley. This year visitors and residents are invited to select and purchase their costumes online, collect them on the island, and join in the Grand Parade that starts at 11:30 a.m.
The Anguilla Tourist Board (ATB) has created a series of costumes, themed “Rainbow City”, whose cascading hues aim to reflect Anguilla’s people, experiences, flora, fauna and culture. The many pillars of the “Rainbow City” experience are depicted in three Anguillian sections: Spellbound, Hanami and Enchanted.
Spellbound reflects the spirit of Anguilla. In the realm of Rainbow City, the Cerise Solstice marks the period when the Sun reaches its highest point, which is reflected in the Summer Festival Mas Experience.
Hanami affirms the strength and pride of the Rainbow City people. The color represents the resilience of Anguillians, who have been tried and tested with life’s challenges.
Enchanted signifies the strength, power and royalty of the people.
The Summer Festival’s August Monday (the first Monday in August, celebrated as Emancipation Day) kicks off with the J'ouvert Morning Sunrise Street Jam on August 5, a showcase for the talents of local musicians and artists, who compete for the title of ‘Road March Champion’. The event is followed by the August Monday Caribbean beach party with local and international artists gracing the stage for over 12 hours of partying on Sandy Ground beach. The combination of street jam and beach party equals a 24-hour rave that attracts thousands of revelers to the island.
Another highlight of the Summer Festival is Anguilla’s daybreak fete, Eyes Wide Shut, which takes place on August 8. This early morning beach party and concert at Sandy Ground includes leading regional and international artists.
The Poker Run, scheduled this year for August 10, is an all day Summer Festival event that attracts up to 100 boats. There are four stops between the start and finish: Da Vida’s, Island Harbour, Rendezvous Bay and Meads Bay. At each stop there is a beach party and a host of games and competitions, such as beer drinking contests, dance contests, games, music and food. The winning poker hand will receive $5,000.
Lastly, the national sport and pastime, boat racing. A series of races takes place during Summer Festival, ending with the champion of champions race on August 11, marking the official end of the boat racing calendar for the year and bestowing bragging rights on the winner until the next season.
A complete schedule of events for Summer Festival is available on the ATB website at https://festivals.ivisitanguilla.com/.