January & February
Bermuda Festival of Performing Arts. Held in the City of Hamilton and a handful of venues in neighboring parishes, this 7-week performing arts festival features drama, dance, jazz, classical, and popular music, as well as other entertainment by a rotating lineup of international artists from January through March. For details about this year’s festival, visit www.bermudafestival.org; tel. 441/295-1291.
Bermuda Restaurant Weeks. Enjoy island-inspired cuisine at discount prices during these weeks in January, when restaurants in the City of Hamilton and across the island offer affordable prix fixe menus.
Bermuda Marathon Weekend. Not just one race, but a trio of competitive races that culminates with a challenging 26.2-mile run, this 3-day, weekend event is popular with local and international runners alike. For more information and entry forms visit www.bermudaraceweekend.com; tel. 441/737-8835.
Bermuda International Film Festival. This independent film festival screens works from international and local filmmakers. In addition, the festival holds workshops and Q&A sessions with industry leaders. For more information, visit www.biff.bm or call tel. 441/293-3456.
Good Friday. On this day in March, Bermudians flock to Horseshoe Bay Beach to fly kites, many of which are handmade with brightly colored tissue paper, sticks and glue. The annual tradition—known as the Bermuda Kite Festival—is meant to replicate the ascension of Christ, who according to Christian tradition, rose from the dead on Easter Sunday.
Peppercorn Ceremony. Meant to recreate the moment when the island’s capital was transferred from St. George’s to Hamilton in 1816, this annual ceremony full of pomp and circumstance follows his Excellency the Governor, as he collects the annual rent of one peppercorn for use of the Old State House in St. George’s. Mid- to late April.
Bermuda Agricultural Exhibition. Held over 3 days in late April at the Botanical Gardens in Paget, this family-friendly event is a celebration of Bermuda’s agrarian and horticultural bounty. In addition to prize-winning produce, the exhibition (locally known as the “ag show”) features an equestrian competition and best-in-show awards for top pig, chicken, and other farm animals. For more information, visit www.theagshowbda.com.
International Race Week. Every year, during late April and early May, this yachting event pits equivalent vessels from seven classes of sailing craft against one another. Yachting enthusiasts around the world follow the knockout elimination-style event with avid interest. The Marion-to-Bermuda Race and Newport–Bermuda Race (see below) take place in June. Unfortunately for spectators, the finish lines for the island’s sailing races usually lie several miles offshore. Afterward, boats are often moored in Hamilton Harbour; any vantage point on the harbor is good for watching the boats come in. Even better: Head for any of the City of Hamilton’s harborfront pubs, where racing crowds celebrate their wins (or justify their losses) over pints of ale.
For information on all sailing events held off the coast of Bermuda, contact the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club www.rbyc.bm; tel. 441/295-2214.
Harbour Nights. On Wednesday nights in the City of Hamilton from May through August, join a festive street party on a blocked off section of Front Street, where local vendors sell crafts, artwork and food. Expect family-friendly kid zones, cultural expositions and live musical performances, like Bermuda’s very on Gombey dancers.
Bermuda Day. Celebrated every year on the last Friday of May, Bermuda Day is a public holiday that’s Bermuda’s equivalent of Independence Day. Bermuda Day is punctuated with parades through downtown Hamilton, dinghy and cycling races, and the Bermuda Half Marathon Derby, a 13-mile road race that’s popular with locals. It’s also the official start of summer, when you’ll see Bermudians don their swimsuits and jump into the Atlantic for the first time of the year.
Bermuda Heroes Weekend. One of the island’s biggest summer celebrations, this Carnival-style event features a parade of bands, feverish Soca concerts, steel pan musicians and the J’Ouvert Celebration, a boisterous all-night fete where people party until the sun comes up.
Marion-to-Bermuda Race. This 1,038km (645-mile) sailboat race from Marion, Massachusetts, to Bermuda is held in mid-June. See the entry for “International Race Week,” under April, above, for details on international sailing events. For more information, visit www.marionbermuda.com, or call the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club tel. 441/295-2214.
Newport–Bermuda Race. Also known as “The Thrash to the Onion Patch,” this biannual, 635-nautical mile regatta starts in Newport, Rhode Island and ends in Bermuda. In 2016, the 100-foot high-performance racing yacht Comanche set a new course record by completing the race in less than 35 hours, smashing the old record by almost 5 hours. That record hasn’t been broken since. For more information visit www.bermudarace.com.
July & August
Bermuda Triple Crown Billfish Championship. A trio of deep-sea fishing tournaments, this series of high-octane angling events is comprised of the Bermuda Billfish Blast, the Bermuda Big Game Classic and the Seahorse Anglers Club Billfish Tournament, all of which feature hefty cash purses. For more information visit www.bermudatriplecrown.com.
Cup Match. Held on Thursday and Friday before the first Monday in August, this 2-day cricket match is the most beloved sporting event of the year, when cricketers from the East End (St. George’s Cricket Club) square off against those from the West End (Somerset Cricket Club). Come to watch the hotly contested match or join the throngs of well-dressed locals who crowd the neighboring tents to drink rum swizzle and win cash at the Crown & Anchor tables, a popular dice game where betting is permitted.
Sand Sculpture Competition. This annual competition held on Horseshoe Bay Beach is perfect for kids of all ages, since prizes are awarded in categories including companies, tourists, adults, families and children 12 and under.
The City Food Festival. Featuring wine tastings, walking tours, bartending competitions and live cooking demonstrations from some of the island’s top chefs, this 3-day festival in the City of Hamilton celebrates everything food. For more information visit www.cityofhamilton.bm
The Opening of Parliament. Typically held the first week of November, this traditional ceremony, with a military guard of honor, celebrates the opening of Parliament by His Excellency the governor, as the Queen’s personal representative. In anticipation of the entry of the members of Parliament (MPs) at 11am, crowds begin gathering outside the Cabinet Building around 9:30 or 10am. Spectators traditionally include lots of schoolchildren being trained in civic protocol, as well as nostalgia buffs out for a whiff of British-style pomp.
Remembrance Day. Bermudian police, British and U.S. military units, Bermudians, and veterans’ organizations participate in a small parade in remembrance of all who have given their lives in battle. November 11.
World Rugby Classic. Former international rugby players, who have recently retired from the international stage, compete with Bermudians at the Bermuda National Sports Club at this beloved annual event. Watch from the grandstands or splurge on a ticket to the Member’s Tent, a VIP area located behind the goal post where all food and wine is included (www.worldrugby.bm; tel. 441/295-6574). Mid-November.
National Trust Christmas Walkabout. Watch the Town of St. George’s come to life in splendid holiday wonder during this beloved annual event when 17th-century homes are open to the public, carolers stroll the streets and live performances by choirs and dance troupes are held in festively decorated King’s Square. For more information, visit www.bnt.bm.
Christmas Boat Parade. Typically held every other year in Hamilton Harbour, this festive parade features dozens of circling boats, all lit up in festive colored lights for the holidays. For a great view, grab a table at 1609, a harborside restaurant at the Hamilton Princess Hotel.
Bermuda Goodwill Tournament. The longest running Pro-Am in golf, this tournament features international pro-amateur foursomes who come to play 72 holes on three of Bermuda’s top courses (Port Royal, Tucker’s Point, and the Mid Ocean Club). Anyone who wants to compete must pass the sponsors’ stringent requirements and may appear only by invitation. Spectators are welcome to watch from the sidelines for free. For more information visit www.bermudagoodwillgolf.com
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.