Three-hundred and sixty-four days of the year, Fiddle Cay in the Abaco Islands is an unassuming swipe of sand and verdant foliage on the brilliant blue canvas of the Bahamas’ waters. One day a year, however, it becomes party beach central.
Each summer, the landscape transforms as more than a thousand revelers gather there for what is undoubtedly the biggest gathering of its kind in the Bahamas: the Stranded Naked Cheeseburger Beach Party. During this event, thousands of cheeseburgers, hundreds of hot dogs, hundreds of pounds of french fries, and gallons upon gallons of margaritas and rum punch are served.
The party is a parrothead-meets-beach-bum mash-up, as beach music plays over the loudspeakers throughout the day. Lounge with your fellow partygoers in warm turquoise waters before you challenge each other to compete in hula hoop and limbo competitions. The loser grabs the next round of drinks, and nothing breaks the ice with new friends quite like friendly competition and the gentle clink of brimming cups.
If you are a non-nudist, don’t let the name of the party scare you away. This is a family event, and there is no actual nudity. The name comes from the Abaco Islands houseboat owned by Bobb and Patricia Henderson, who started the laid-back gathering three decades ago as a small get-together of friends. Now, it’s a gathering where all pretense is left behind. Duct tape-patched dinghies are tied up side by side with luxury yachts, their owners unassumingly rubbing shoulders with smiles on their faces and drinks in their hands.
People-watching is paramount at this Abaco Islands fête. Bikini-clad women toss discs at the water’s edge as dogs glide by on pool floats, lazily riding the current. Watch the rosy-cheeked children build sandcastles while their fathers provide encouragement between sips of rum cocktails. Dance parties break out on the multitude of boats that crowd around the cay, so bust out your best moves against the background of pure revelry. Entertainment abounds at this summer beach party, and all you have to do is sit back and watch. So, plant your chair firmly at the water’s edge, savor a cool margarita, soak up the beauty that is so characteristically Bahamas, and revel in the tangible happiness such a gathering can bring.