The most important festival of the year is Carnival, held from the Sunday two weeks preceding Lent, starting with Children’s Carnival. There are colourful parades and competitions for best musician, best dancer, best costume etc. The culmination is the Grand Parade on the Sun preceding Lent.
Other festive occasions during the year include New Year, when fireworks are let off at midnight and musicians and singers go round from house to house (and hotel to hotel); National Anthem and Flag Day on 18 March, when there are displays of national dancing and other folklore, and St John’s Day on 24 June, which is another folklore day: ‘Derramento di Gai’.
For visitors who do not coincide their trip with one of the annual festivals, there is a weekly Bonbini show in the courtyard of the Fort Zoutman museum on Tuesday 1830-2030, US$3, music, singing and dancing, interesting but overenthusiastic MC, bartenders from hotels mix cocktails and special drinks. The programme is altered every week, so those on a 2-week holiday do not sit through the same thing twice.
Aruba's explosive extravaganza of color, music, dance, parades, and costumed glories celebrates its 56th year in 2010. Carnival is far more than a parade – it is a fun-filled action-packed season and a carefree state-of-mind.
Local dance music, such as the fast, lively tumba is very influenced by Latin America. Arubans are fond of merengue. Throughout the year there are several different music and dance festivals. The International Theatre Festival takes place every other year; for information contact CCA, Vondellaan 2, T821758. There is also a Dance Festival in October at the Cas de Cultura, for information T/F830223.
New Year’s Day, GF Betico Croes Day (25 January), Carnival Monday (beginning of February), Flag Day (18 March), Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday, Queen’s Birthday (30 April), Labour Day (1 May), Ascension Day (May), Christmas Day, Boxing Day.
Aruba's sun-kissed paradise, with five-days of power-packed events. Join Soul Music Lovers from around the world and take part in amped-up nightclubs, sizzling beach parties, and music concerts. Contact Aruba Tourism Authority or visit www.soulbeach.net for additional information.
Aruba Bartenders Contest is a yearly competition sponsored by the island’s Bartenders Association, the people who bring you the best cock- tails in the Caribbean. The maker of the best original drink is sent to the regional Latin American Bartenders Contest
April through August, the Watapana Food and Art Festival is held every Wednesday on Palm Beach between the Hyatt and Allegro Resorts from 6 pm until 8 pm.
Aruba Jazz and Latin Music Festival, a two-day event, features well- known musical stars performing together and individually.
Aruba Hi-Winds Windsurfing Pro-Am World Challenge is one of the most popular competitions in the Caribbean, with participants from 30 countries vying for the prestigious Aruba Hi-Winds title. Windsurfers of all ages and skill levels compete for prizes in six categories.
Heineken Music Festival invites bands from throughout the Caribbean to perform in a free concert. It’s usually held the first week of July.
Aruba International Pro-Am Golf Tournament, held at Tierra del Sol Golf Course, is a two-day, 36-hole tournament.
Festival de Las Americas is an international event featuring music, dance, and theater presentations at Cas di Cultura, a cultural center in Oranjestad.
Deep-Sea Fishing Tournament, hosted by the Aruba Nautical Club at Pos Chiquito, invites fishermen from Venezuela, Miami, Puerto Rico, Curaçao, and Bonaire to participate in the annual event. Get more infor- mation and exact dates by contacting the club, % 853-022.
Heineken Aruba International Catamaran Regatta takes advan- tage of the island’s trade winds. Catamarans come from throughout the Americas and Europe to compete.
Sint Nicolaas Day, December 5, is the birthday of Sint Nicolaas and this celebration features the arrival of the jolly man at the harbor in Oranjestad. Children come out to greet him and receive presents. TIP: The weekly Bon Bini Festival is held year- round on Tuesdays from 6:30 pm until 8:30 pm at Fort Zoutman in Oranjestad. This folkloric event highlights arts and crafts, local foods and drinks, music and dance.
For information and exact dates on these events, contact the Special Events Department of the Aruba Tourism Authority.