Locals love their music, dance, and rum! Festivals play an important part of culture on the island, with many featuring colorful costumes and vibrant dancing. Many events highlight local cuisine and therefore make a good place to enjoy Caribbean fare. There also many sporting events held in Barbados every year, from surfing, running, and sailing to golf events.
The Holetown Festival celebrates the arrival of the first settlers in Barbados in 1627. The festival itself dates back to 1977 and showcases the island’s culture and history. It now includes a street fair, sporting events, music performances, and much more. The festival takes place in the town of Holetown, on the west coast of the island, for eight days in February.
Oistins Fish Festival
This popular event takes place in the town of Oistins, in the southern part of the island. Having started in 1977, this street fair celebrates the signing of the Charter of Barbados and honors fisherman. Visitors will be able sample a huge range of local delicacies, as well as enjoy music and dance performances. The highlight is the fish boning competition, to see who can de-bone fish the fastest and there are also crab and boat race. This festival is also a good place to pick up local arts and crafts. The Oistins Fish Festival takes place in March or April, during Easter week.
Crop Over Festival
This island-wide celebration is probably the biggest and most-loved on Barbados. The origins date back to the 1780s, when sugar cane harvest was celebrated. The highlight is the carnival and spectacular Kadooment Parade. The festival runs from the end of June until early August and includes many smaller events throughout that time period.
Barbados Food & Wine and Rum Festival
For four days in November, celebrity chefs and food and beverage experts from all over the world descend on Barbados to celebrate the best of Caribbean cuisine. There are tastings, BBQs, cook-offs, dinner cruises, distillery tours, and much more. Visitors will be able to sample the best rum on Barbados and learn about the history of Caribbean spices and seasonings at this fun foodie event.
Barbados Independence Surf Festival
The most important surfing competition on the island attracts world-class surfers from all over the world. Competing in two title events during the festival, the November Pro and Caribbean Junior Championships challenge the greats to ride the waves. Visitors can also experience surf demonstrations, a bikini contest, live music, and food on offer. The Barbados Independence Surf Festival takes place for three days in November.
Run Barbados is the premier running event in the Caribbean. It takes place in December every year and consists of a 3K, 5K, 10K, half-marathon and full marathon. This event was first held in 1983 and has grown in popularity every year, with more and more runners signing up every year so register early if you plan to run. The best part about Run Barbados is the jump in the ocean after crossing the finish line!