I don’t care if it’s snowing and Santa comes down the chimney with a reindeer on his back, as far as I’m concerned, the Christmas season doesn’t officially begin until The Bahamas National Trust (BNT) holds its annual Christmas Jollification Festival.
The festival, which is held each year in late November, features fun activities for children and a wide variety of tasty food options. Can you say crab corndogs and deep fried Oreos?
At jollification, you’ll also find tons of arts and crafts on display, most of which are Christmas themed.
Thousands of Bahamians turn out in droves to buy unique, handmade ornaments for their Christmas trees, as well as decorations for their home.
My family and I headed to The Retreat, where the festival is held. It’s a 11-acre national park that resembles a lush garden with beautiful tropical plants.
Sadly, we went to the festival at 3:00 p.m. and by then, many places had sold out of food. Luckily, one of my favourite food vendors, Vell Monkey Foot (VMF) came to the rescue. My sister and I feasted on fried calamari, sandwiches and one of my favourite things to eat, deep fried Oreos. They were so good that I decided to buy all of the ingredients and make them when I got him, which I did.
My niece, Tatyanna was hoping to spot Santa, but he didn’t make an appearance.
Instead, BNT had a snake on display and the crowd seemed to enjoy taking turns holding the reptile.
You Never Know Who You’ll See
I have been going to Jollification for years and let me tell you one thing that you can be guaranteed of – you will run into people you haven’t seen in a while.
That was the case for me. From the moment I walked into the park, I ran into old high school friends, former coworkers and even my high school guidance counsellor.
My sister and I were sitting and chowing down on our food when several people approached me to let me know that they were fans and appreciated my work. I kept staring at my sister in disbelief. They asked to take photos, and of course, I obliged.
You may not believe this, but I am a big time introvert, so I always feel a great deal of anxiety when people approach me. But, everyone was so respectful and fun to be around that the anxiety went away.
My best advice for those taking part in Jollification is to dress comfortably with comfortable shoes. You’ll be doing a lot of walking. Also, eat a small snack before coming to the festival because the lines are long and so is the wait.
I don’t think this year’s Jollification was as exciting as previous years, but it did the trick. I got to spend time with my amazing family, got to eat some pretty cool food and I ran into some of my favourite people ever.
Until next year!
This Bahamian Gyal