Culture Trends Q+A 2011: Karin A. Darrel, Bermuda Tourism

Prevue asked Karin Darrell, Bermuda Department of Tourism’s manager of global sales, her thoughts on key Bermuda culture trends for 2011. 

Q: Which museums or other cultural venues are popular for visiting groups?
A: Bermuda National Gallery; Bermuda Maritime Museum; Bermuda Aquarium, Museum & Zoo; Fort St. Catherine; Verdmont Historic House Museum.

Q: What are some examples of local cuisine that tie into local culture?
A: Bermuda fish chowder, which includes Sherry pepper sauce, codfish and potatoes; cassava pie, conch, and of course, a Dark and Stormy, which includes Goslings Rum mixed with ginger beer soda.

Q: Please describe some popular themed special events that tie into local culture.
A: Bermuda Day—usually the day of the annual Bermuda Heritage Day Parade. This day began in Britain in 1902 as the celebration of Queen Empress Victoria’s birthday. The Earl of Meath inaugurated it as the day on which young people would be trained in their British Empire citizenship. It includes the Marathon Derby, a half marathon raced from Somerset to Hamilton over hills and dales. Bermuda’s racing legend “Sir” Stanley Burgess, who died in 1984, participated for over 50 years, beginning in 1921 when he was 20. He won it ten times. His marathon preparation began with a bath in port wine, honey, beet tops and rum. He rubbed his legs with tincture of myrrh, turtle oil, oil of wintergreen with hazel, and old rum. His final race was in 1983, when he was 84.

There is also the Sinclair Packwood Memorial Cycle Race, which includes sporting events and a parade with floats. There is a theme for each year, and participants include marching bands, dancers, Bermuda Gombeys, Bermuda Islanders pipe and drum band, politicians with speeches and restaurant stands offering selections of specialty Bermudian dishes. It began in 1909, from the town of St. George to Somerset.

Bermuda Day is also when Bermuda Fitted Dinghy Racing begins its annual season.

Q: What are some popular local cultural components you can add to meeting breaks and receptions?
A: The Gumba Trail is a historic journey in time via a cultural nature walk. The trail describes the background of the Caribbean Junkanoo dancers and their connection to the Gombeys of Bermuda, along with commentary on the Islands’ plant life and various uses.

The Heritage Passport is a pass that allows visitors unlimited admission to eight attractions over a four-day period. Sites include the Bermuda Maritime Museum; the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum & Zoo; Fort St. Catherine and Verdmont Historic House Museum, among others.

Q: Where do you take friends/family when they’re in town that planners should know about?
A: A dinner at The Waterlot Inn. It’s a great restaurant filled with history and delicious cuisine.