Youngsters square off in the mango-eating competition, one of the most popular games at the Carrot Bay Cultural Fiesta. (Photo: DANA KAMPA)

Throughout the challenges of planning the Carrot Bay Cultural Fiesta during the pandemic, the event remained relatively well supported. This year, it expanded into a three-day bash featuring a variety of beloved games, traditional foods and a fishing tournament.

The free events kicked off with the tournament on Aug. 10, followed by many of the games on Aug. 11. An “aquatic brunch fete” then took place on Aug. 12, with kayak races, swimming races and a greased pole.

Musicians including the Shooting Stars Steel Band, Euphoric Band, Razor Blades, Pascal and Friends, A.B.M., Ova Drive and many more kept the celebration rolling into the night each day.

Community competitions included lime-and-spoon races, tug-of-war, bucket races and sack races. (Photo: DANA KAMPA)
Traditional races

The Aug. 11 community competitions included lime-and-spoon races, tug-of-war, bucket races and sack races.

Kids and adults alike delighted in the friendly contests, only taking a break to cheer on the donkeys as they sped toward the bridge in Carrot Bay.

Competitors gave it their all, having to balance speed with not losing their footing on loose gravel. Packed crowds cheered and groaned as frontrunners would near the finish line, only to drop their limes just steps away.

‘Focused on family’

Many attendees shared their appreciation for the expanded celebration, with some describing it as a way to introduce their children to more cultural activities during the August Emancipation Festival season.

Both Edith Pena and her son, Joseph, joined in the contests.

The soon-to-be fourth grader won medals in both the lime-and-spoon and bucket races — facing a particular challenge when a fellow contestant mistakenly picked up his already-full bucket of almonds.

Ms. Pena said she appreciated the wide variety of kid-friendly options available.

“I didn’t go to any of the other [festival] activities, but I did come to Carrot Bay because it’s very focused on family,” she said. “I feel it’s very important for the kids to get some culture out of it as well.”

She appreciated seeing more young people get involved in the festivities, especially the young women who competed in the donkey races.

Expanding the Carrot Bay activities was a good move in her opinion. “This is really the cultural heart of the festivities,” she added.