Barbados is a country that loves a good festival, and the biggest party of the year is definitely Crop Over.
This colourful festival has been running ever since the 1780s, with its roots in the country’s sugar trade.
At the end of each sugar season, huge celebrations would be held across the island to mark the passing of another successful harvest, which came to be known as Crop Over.
While the festival declined along with the sugar trade in the early 20th century, it experienced a revival in 1974 and has been going strong ever since, evolving to become a more general celebration of Barbadian culture, and bringing thousands of visitors to Barbados from all over the world.
Here’s our guide to all the best things to see and do during Crop Over 2017.
Evening of Folk – July 26th
While the music of Crop Over is mainly dominated by calypso and soca, folk is also represented at this event in Bridgetown.
This theatrical spectacle takes the audience on a storytelling journey using a number of mediums, recognising a number of prominent moments in the island’s history, such as the riots of 1937.
Junior Kadooment – July 29th
Before the festival’s marquee event, the Grand Kadooment, there’s a chance for younger visitors to have their very own version, with the Kiddie’s Kadooment.
Here the kids will be able to dress up in colourful costumes and take part in parades and competitions.
There’ll also be rides such as merry go rounds and slides and plenty of games to take part in too!
Bridgetown Market – August 4th-7th
This huge five-day street fair draws all kinds of vendors to the capital of Bridgetown, selling everything from food and drink to local arts and crafts, while local bands perform calypso and soca music in the background while you browse the stalls, which take over the full length of the Spring Garden Highway.
Pic-O-De-Crop Calypso Music Finals – August 5th
The Crop Over season sees lots of Calypso music festivals, one of the most notable of which is the Pic-O-De-Crop.
The final is held at the Kensington
Oval, and brings together a host of top Calypso artists from around the island and the rest of the Caribbean.
It’s also followed by the Foreday Morning Jump Up, an early morning street party which continues until the sun comes up, with paint and powder blasted into the crowds from the music trucks.
Grand Kadooment – August 7th
The main attraction of the festival, the Grand Kadooment (also known as Mega Monday) is where everybody comes together for one last blowout!
The night features large bands dressed up in various themes, providing musical accompaniment as locals make their way from the National Stadium to Spring Garden, in a colourful parade, with spectators lining the street.
Once the parade reaches Spring Garden, the party continues long into the night, with food and drink, more music and perhaps even a dip in the water at the beach.
If you only get to see one thing at Crop Over, make sure that it’s the Grand Kadooment!
Crop Over is the perfect opportunity to eat like a local in Barbados, with so many stalls and kiosks selling local produce.
Barbados is known for its seafood,
and fishcakes are a popular street snack, as are dishes such as salted cod and hot pepper, mixed in batter and fried.
Macaroni pie and flying fish is another traditional dish served during crop over, as is pudding n’ souse, although it might not be the kind of ‘pudding’ you’re used to!
Whether it’s a street kiosk, rum shop, or fine dining restaurant, Crop Over is the best time to get a true taste of Barbados.
Check out this list of some local dishes worth trying during your Crop Over visit.