On this beautiful island in the Caribbean there is always something to celebrate. Throughout each year, choose from such diverse events as the St Lucia Jazz Festival, the Food and Rum Festival and the many golf and cricket tournaments which are on offer, to add to the enjoyment of any stay in this tropical paradise. Held during June, the St Lucia Carnival is one of the most hyped and exciting festivals, when locals and visitors alike get a chance to party through the streets of Castries until they drop. In the lead-up to the carnival, feel the anticipation build as the Carnival Queen, Calypso Monarch, Panorama Champions, Party Monarch and others are chosen to be the main focus of attention throughout the celebrations. In one event, you will witness the various strands of local culture coming together in an explosive atmosphere: theatre, music, dance, song, costume and cuisine are all at the very peak of their artistic expression for this occasion.
In the month of May, St Lucia hosts a celebration of jazz music, now one of the major events in the local calendar of activities. The St Lucia Jazz Festival and its various side attractions now known as ‘The Fringe Activities’ continue to draw attention from world-class musicians and jazz buffs with its festive atmosphere within a wide variety of venues all over the island from formal stage events to late night open air venues, late night club venues and open air picnic style concerts. Its importance to the local community, in that it has provided opportunities for local jazz musicians to get significant media exposure, is equalled by the enjoyment it has given to international audiences.
The sporting calendar on the island will hardly allow you to stop for breath. For keen golfers, choose from the Sir Vivian Richards Golf Tournament in April and July, the Desmond Skeete Memorial tournament in May, and the Rotary Club of Gros Islet Golf Tournament in November. Angling enthusiasts will be delighted by the family fun to be had at the Dennery Fish Festival, with its organized fish sales, tug-o-war competitions, sailing, swimming and rowing events. The St Lucia Bill Fishing Tournament is held in September and is a three-day competition open to anglers from all over the Caribbean. The Blue Marlin is the most sought-after catch and the winner is the angler who hooks the biggest fish. Marlin wearing less than 250 pounds are tagged and returned to the sea, while the spectacle of the weighing in at Rodney Bay is open for all to witness at the end of each fishing day. The big nautical event of the year is the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers, held in December and featuring the world’s biggest transoceanic race, better known as the ARC. The course starts at Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and crosses to Rodney Bay Marina in St Lucia itself. It brings together over 170 competitors from around the globe, and the 2700-nautical mile passage on the trade-wind route usually takes around two to three weeks to complete. While the race is underway, family and friends can keep abreast of the latest progress of the yachts by accessing the position reports on the World Cruising Club website. After waiting patiently at the finishing line, St Lucia locals and supporters of the race will generally begin the celebrations with welcome parties almost daily from the arrival of the first boat up until the final prize-giving ceremony.
The St Lucia Food and Rum Festival takes place in November, and attracts the best chefs, wine connoisseurs, rum fanatics and food critics with a local and even international reputation. The festival promotes Caribbean rums, restaurants, chefs and regionally manufactured food and drink to local and international audiences. Over a weekend, it invites guests to sample local food, rum and wine while gastronomic dinners are hosted by five star restaurants. Other charming festivals on the island include the Rose Festival in August and the Marguerite Festival in October.