South Hill Christmas Experience
On the first day of Christmas Anguilla gave to me, a South Hill Christmas Experience! With two days of fun-filled experiences and delicacies, it was impossible to miss. Highlighting the toothsome cuisines prepared by local chefs and vendors, residents and tourists from all corners of the island assembled on the South Hill field to engage and witness an Anguillian cultural affair!
The event kicked off on Sunday night with a Lighting Parade around the village. Despite the weather, the Christmas spirit escalated as villagers as well as contestants of the pageant flaunted their Christmas costumes while dancing and parading behind the lit up Christmas floats. As the music pounded throughout the streets, there was no turning back for participants of the parade. En route was from Greig’s Trucking, through backstreet South Hill and back to the main road returning to where they initially started.
Subsequent to the parade, the Miss South Hill pageant was about to commence. Starring four (4) lovely contestants, this year’s show was going to be intriguing. Like all pageants, first thing is first, there was an introductory segment that familiarised each contestant to the judges as well as the audience. The contestants’ names were as follows:
Contestant #1- Miss Nimervia Reid
Contestant #2- Miss Deslyn Colbourne
Contestant #3- Miss Rodi Richardson
Contestant #4- Miss Cassilda Thomas- Carty
From there it was time to start the ball rolling! Consisting of four (4) segments, Introductory, Futuristic Wear, Talent and Evening Wear, the pageant had already seemed to be a success even during the first one.
In the course of the intermissions and even during the pageant, persons took the chance to purchase foods that were on sale; including fresh Johnny cakes made from the famous South Hill rock oven, BBQ chicken and ribs and drinks, just to name a few.
As the segments went on, the contestants continued to do their utmost best in order to impress both the crowd and judges. Their outfits and vibes both fitted the “Christmas Experience” perfectly.
As the night was coming to an end, the pageant was in its final stage. After the judges deliberated, the host began to read out the categories and their allotted winners. At the end of it all, the village of South Hill had crowned a new queen; Miss Nimervia Reid.
After the show ended, the deejay played music to conclude the night and Day 1 of the South Hill Christmas Experience. It then became a “hang out spot” for persons, where they bought food and danced uncontrollably to the music.
On the following day of the South Hill Christmas Experience, it was set in motion at 1pm prior to that time; members of the South Hill Committee as well as vendors were making the necessary preparations and taking shifts.
On that day, the setting was more active than the previous day. For one, it was a public holiday in recognition of the men and women who served in Anguilla’s 1967 Revolution dubbed Heroes and Heroines Day. Also, more tents were in place hence more options for food; inclusive of conch soup, bull foot soup, fry fish, BBQ chicken and ribs, alcoholic beverages, stewed peas, coconut tarts, roast pork, souse, conchie dumplings and so on. Additionally, there were activities such as children’s face painting and gift giving.
Throughout the day, there was another deejay on stage playing a mixture of music genres; from our local soca, to Christmas music, to old time mixes. More persons gathered in comparison to the day before. The entire field was ransacked with all age groups. The younger kids usually ran around the open lot while the older heads, whether committee member, vendors, participants and spectators were conversing, drinking or even enjoying the atmosphere by dancing and singing along to familiar tunes.
The vibes continued throughout the remaining of the day. With music blasting through every square feet of the field, the time had not seemed to be a factor that affected these spectators. The energy displayed was like that of a four year old hyperactive child. I must say, this is something I commend Anguillians for; their sense of togetherness as well as knowing how to keep a party alive; or maybe, it was the alcohol speaking. Nonetheless, their vibrant spirits certainly accentuated the theme of the event.
“Anguillians sure do love to “lime”!”, expressed a tourist who stood next to me while observing the festivity. She had apparently been very social on the island for quite a while in order for her to adapt our lingo. Nevertheless, she was definitely accurate. This is quite evident in the time the event was wrapped up (around midnight that is). Even then, there were still persons drinking, conversing and also some dancing to the Christmas melodies or the pulsating sounds of Pantha Vibes International as “Chant King” thumped across the field. The moments were priceless!
At the end of it all, both days were very pleasurable. The showcasing of the Anguillian talents, creativity and dedication definitely warmed my heart. Not to mention the admirable effort and charisma that was displayed by all contestants made it even more intriguing to experience. The foods, on the other hand, were “Souper” amazing. It was excellent experiencing food that I personally am not accustomed to.
This year’s South Hill Christmas Experience was definitely one to remember; from the choice of foods, to the contestants of the Miss South Hill pageant, more so the 2017 queen, the spectators and participants and of course, not excluding the ones who made it all possible, the South Hill Committee. It was for sure “Excellent over Magnificent!”