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Antigua Holidays & Festivals

The hottest event of the year is Antigua Sailing Week, held in April. During this time, Antigua hotel rooms can be hard to come by. On this week, Nelson's Dockyard at English Harbour comes to life with the color and pageantry of the largest regatta in the Caribbean. Parties, barbecues, races, Lord Nelson's Ball, and more highlight this annual event, now in its third decade.

Other special events include the Culinary Exposition in May and Independence Day on November 1st. Carnival is the hottest summer activity, scheduled in late July to commemorate emancipation. The events include steel pan music, calypso, beauty pageants, and parades with elaborately costumed musicians in bands of 75 to 300 members. Join in the fun and march with the musical troupes as they wind their way through St. John's. You'll find plenty of local food at Carnival City (otherwise known as the Antigua Recreation Grounds in St. John's): seasoned rice, doucana ( a dumpling made of flour, sweet potatoes, coconut and sometimes raisins), and saltfish.

In late October and early November, the Hot Air Balloon Festival lights the skies. Close to a dozen hot air balloons schedule launches at English Harbour, Newfield, Jolly Harbour, St. John's, Curtain Bluff, and other sites around the island. To celebrate Antigua's independence, British sky divers jump from 2,000 feet carrying the Antiguan flag. Other festivities include parades, gun salutes, and dancing in St. John's. A night flight over English Harbour makes for a spectacular scene.

Calendar of Events

1 New Year's Day (Public Holiday)
Windsurfing. Antigua Winter Competition with course and slalom racing at Lord Nelson Beach

Antigua Grand Prix Regatta, Jolly Harbour

Good Friday (Public Holiday)
Easter Monday (Public Holiday)

Antigua Sailing Week
Cricket Test Match
Department of Tourism Model Boat Race (pre-Sailing Week)

5 Labour Day (public holiday)
Curtain Bluff Hotel Pro-Am Tennis Classic
Barbuda's Caribana
Antigua and Barbuda Sports Fishing Tournament
Whit Monday (public holiday)
Tourism Awareness Week
Antigua and Barbuda Power Boat Race

International Cricket
Jolly Harbour to Barbuda Cruise and Race

7 Caricom Day (Public Holiday)
Carib Cup Regatta, Jolly Harbour
Antigua Carnival Events and Public Holiday
Windsurfing, Antigua Open Class and Slalom

Antigua Carnival continues
Antigua and Barbuda Football Tournament

Jolly Harbour Regatta (always scheduled for last weekend)

Annual Jazz Festival
International Hot Air Balloon Festival
Heritage (National Dress) Day

1 Independence Day (Public Holiday)
Antigua Open Golf Tournament
International Hot Air Balloon Festival continues
Carib Cup Regatta at Jolly Harbour

25 Christmas Day (Public Holiday)
26 Boxing Day (Public Holiday)


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