Q&A: International Women’s Day, Grand Bahama

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On March 8, International Women’s Day, Grand Bahama will be celebrated in true Bahamian style. A special afternoon, hosted in honor of women, will be filled with music, art, beautiful surroundings, and refreshments at the labyrinth in the Garden of the Groves.

With 12 acres of lush botanical gardens filled with blooming yellow elder flowers and flaming-red Royal Poinciana trees, you and your family can relax in the calming sounds of seven lapping ponds and a trickling waterfall, the meditative echo of wind chimes, and the chirping of local birds.

Following the aroma of jasmine to the labyrinth in the garden, you’ll find a throng of locals, artists, musicians, and children enjoying the artwork and storytelling of high school competition entrants.

Organizer Lynette McInnes talks about the event’s inspiration and impact on the local community.

What happens throughout the day on International Women’s Day, Grand Bahama ?

We gather around the labyrinth and have food and drinks. Art from the competition is displayed. We have a ceremony and a speaker, and competition winners gather to read their essays. It’s exciting to see. They get a sense of pride and confidence from it.

Afterward, there is a friendly social gathering, and you can engage with a mix of people who make up the island … and are joined together to celebrate women and support women’s rights and equality. Visitors can have a positive impact on a place they visit, and it’s a way for children to engage with the island.

What other activities are there at the garden?

There is a small shopping village — that is an experience. Local vendors and artisans love to interact with visitors.

There are fruit and straw markets where you can get a good feel for the locals while enjoying a delicious mango or avocado. The straw vendors sell purses and hats that they’ve woven from straw, a traditional craft. You can get a souvenir hat and protect yourself from the sun.

How does the Bahamian setting make this event different from other International Women’s Day events?

The garden has a spirituality and connectivity. The event has a friendly, relaxed vibe. The Bahamian people love to talk and engage with visitors. It’s a real joining-together. Many have commented that the event is an inspiring and uplifting experience. I find it gives me hope, as it brings together people with different beliefs who are unified for a common cause.

What inspires you about the Bahamas?

I’m inspired by art, travel and adventure, living life to the fullest, and having a positive impact while I do so…. Grand Bahama is a perfect backdrop. I appreciate the Bahamian people. Being a small island, people tend to look out for each another and have a great sense of community.

What other women-centric activities should visitors check out?

The Garden of the Groves is managed by women. Some of the artisans at the craft village are women. One of my favorites is Gladys, who makes fun earrings out of straw in the colors of the Bahamian flag.

Many of the small businesses on the island are run by enterprising women. One restaurant is Bertha’s Blue Dinghy in Mather Town, a small settlement on one of the most beautiful beaches on the island, and I’m sure in the world. Bertha prepares all the favorite local dishes, or if there is something special you want, you just have to ask. You can even provide the fresh catch (seafood) if you like, and she’ll make magic happen.

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