Little Anguilla is big on Festivals; and, Welches Fest – celebrated on Whit Monday in the village of Welches, situated on the way to Island Harbour – is fast emerging as one of most anticipated and most popular.
Debuting in 2008 as a “village ting” to bring the residents together in a traditional jollification celebration, the festival was an instant success, attracting both other villagers and visitors to the island.
Over the years, organisers increasingly showcased the island’s cultural heritage which, in turn, increased the festival’s appeal to the wider community and visitors alike.
A high point of the festival – which officially starts from 8:00 am and goes until 10:00pm – has been a traditional wedding which, last year was replaced by an old time queen show.
From early and throughout the day, huge crowds converge onto the small village ballpark to feast on “everything old time” – pageantry, drama, cuisine, sweet live scratch band music, games, toys, household utensils; and, to mingle, dance, reminisce; or, see and experience demonstrations of old time living and lifestyles for the first time.
Visitors and the youth in particular are fascinated by the baking of the much sought after johnnycakes in the onsite rock oven and homemade mobile oil drum ovens, each method using stoked wood specially gathered for the purpose.
Bused-in residents from the senior citizen homes across the island fully enjoy their day’s outing.
Seated in tents specially erected and reserved for them, they happily pass the time eating, drinking, observing and reminiscing.
The fun, music, games, eating and drinking, dancing, mingling, laughter, merrymaking, pageantry, baking, interest, amazement and excitement never stop.
Welches Fest is synonymous with Anguilla. If you visit it once, you are hooked! Who can forget such a grand village affair?