Students from the Joyce Samuel Primary School perform a traditional dance to fungi music at the cultural food fair in the Cyril B. Romney Tortola Pier Park on Friday. (Photo: ZARRIN TASNIM AHMED)

The Cyril B. Romney Tortola Pier Park was bustling once again on Friday as residents and cruise ship passengers watched students perform during a food fair held for Culture and Tourism Month.

Fungi music and a traditional African dance called comfoo were among the performances, and vendors sold handmade goods and homemade food along the streets in the pier park.

For the students, the event came after celebrating a week of culture within the schools.

The Enis Adams Pre-primary School had students dress as taxi tour guides one day, while Bregado Flax Educational Centre students took part in cultural breakfasts and a cook-off competition.

Students at Leonora Delville Primary celebrated with storytelling, music and cultural exhibitions, and Althea Scatliffe Primary hosted live displays like fish cleaning and Johnnycake making.

The Virgin Islands School of Technical Studies hosted its own cultural food fair on Friday in Baughers Bay, where it also held a culture-wear competition. Students at Willard Wheatley Primary played cultural games like jacks and marbles.

“I’ve been to quite a number of schools around the territory and they are having a ball,” said Chief Education Officer Connie George, who chaired the event at the pier park. “I really like to see that, because this is one of the things that we must allow our students to learn and understand who we are as a people.”

‘Dance extravaganza’

Culture Director Dr. Katherine Smith announced the beginning of the “dance extravaganza,” which started with an African dance from the 17th Century called comfoo.

A new group from Nouveau Royale Dance School — the Children’s Comfoo Dance Ensemble — debuted the performance wearing black outfits offset with colourful headbands.

After that, the Elmore Stoutt High School Lady Rams danced to Afrobeats, fungi and VI calypso music.

Eight Joyce Samuel Primary students performed a traditional dance to fungi music while donned in cultural attire, and students from Robinson O’Neal Memorial Primary recited old-time proverbs.


The Department of Culture also announced the winners of a writing contest centred around such proverbs. Other Culture and Tourism Month activities included “Books and Bush Tea” at H. Lavity Stoutt Community College on Saturday, followed by an open mic session featuring the Callalloo Poets, Brent Hoyte, and others.

“This is the second annual Culture and Tourism Month,” Dr. Smith said. “We had Culture Week and extended it to an entire month. Within this month, we had for the very first time our BVI Literary Festival.” The activities will continue through this month, culminating in the Anegada Lobster Festival.


There are plenty of events left in Culture and Tourism Month.

Monday: 1949 Great March and Restoration public holiday Tuesday: Visual Arts Photography workshop
Wednesday: Book Launch, The 1949 Great March, HLSCC Learning Resource Centre
Nov. 25: Legacy of a Trailblazer, Joseph Hodge
Nov. 26: Rock Your Territory Wear Day
Nov. 27-28: Anegada Lobster Fest
Nov. 29: Winners of film contest announced by the BVI Tourist Board Nov. 30: Tourism Industry and Cultural Sector panel discussion