January & February
Bermuda Festival. Throughout January and February, island-wide events abound. They include golf and tennis invitationals; an international marathon; a dog show; open house and garden tours; and the Bermuda Festival, a 6-week international festival of the performing arts, held in the City of Hamilton. It features drama, dance, jazz, classical, and popular music, as well as other entertainment by the best international artists. Some tickets for the festival are reserved until 48 hours before curtain time for visitors. For details and a schedule , contact Bermuda Festival (tel. 441/295-1291; www.bermudafestival.org).
The Bermuda International Race Weekend Not just one race, but a trio of competitive races that culminates with a challenging 26.2-mile run, this three-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 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 International Film Festival. Film buffs and filmmakers (mainly independent ones) descend on Bermuda for the annual festival that combines screenings of independent works with movies from personal workshops. Participants get to meet and speak with industry leaders. After each film there is a Q & A session. During the festival, three daily screenings are held. For more information, log on to www.biff.bm or call t tel. 441/293-3456. Mid-March.
Home & Garden Tours. Each spring, the Garden Club of Bermuda lays out the welcome mat at a number of private homes and gardens. A different set of houses, all conveniently located in the same parish, is open every Wednesday during this event. The program usually includes a total of 20 homes, many of them dating from the 17th and 18th centuries. The Bermuda Department of Tourism Office provides a complete listing of homes and viewing schedules. The tours run from the end of March to mid-May.
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.
Beating Retreat Ceremony. The Bermuda Regiment and massed pipes and drums (a military band and a drum corps) create an event that combines a marching band concert and a parade. The ceremony's roots are in the 17th century, when British soldiers were stationed on the island and a roll of the drums called them back to their garrisons at nightfall. It's presented once or twice per month, rotating among the City of Hamilton, St. George, and the Royal Naval Dockyard. The ceremony usually takes place from April to July, and in September and October. The Bermuda Department of Tourism Office supplies exact times and schedules.
Peppercorn Ceremony. His Excellency the governor collects the annual rent of one peppercorn for use of the island's Old State House in St. George. Mid- to late April. Mid-to-late April.
Agriculture Exhibit. Held over 3 days in late April at the Botanical Gardens in Paget, this event is a celebration of Bermuda's agrarian and horticultural bounty. In addition to prize-winning produce, the Agriculture Exhibit provides a showcase for local arts and crafts. For more information, go to 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).May
Bermuda Heritage Day and Month. Bermuda Heritage Month culminates on Bermuda Day, May 24, 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-Day Marathon (open only to island residents). For the rest of the month, a program of cultural and sporting events is presented (the schedule will be available at the tourist office). Any hotel in town can fill you in on the events planned for the year's biggest political celebration, or contact the Bermuda Department of Tourism Office.
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 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.
Queen's Birthday. The Queen's birthday is celebrated with a parade down Front Street in the City of Hamilton. First or second Monday in June; contact the Bermuda Department of Tourism Office at tel. 800/BERMUDA [237-6832] or www.bermudatourism.com for exact schedules.
Marion-to-Bermuda Race. This 1,038km (645-mile) sailboat race from Marion, Massachusetts, to Bermuda is held in mid-June. For more information, call tel. 441/295-2214, or visit www.marionbermuda.com.
Newport-Bermuda Race. The world's most famous wind-driven contest is held each June. The record to date, which starts in Newport, Rhode Island, is a 56-hour transit.
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 and Somers Days. Held on Thursday and Friday before the first Monday in August, this two-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.
Labour Day. This public holiday, held on the first Monday in September, features a host of activities; it's also the ideal time for a picnic. The high point is a parade from Union Square in the City of Hamilton's Bernard Park.
Marine Science Day. Lectures, hands-on demonstrations, and displays for adults and children mark this day devoted to the study of the sea. It is hosted by the BBSR (Bermuda Biological Station for Research, Inc.). Call tel. 441/297-1880 or visit www.bios.edu for more information. End of September.
The City Food Festival. Featuring wine tastings, walking tours, bartending competitions and live cooking demonstrations from some of the island’s top chefs, this three-day festival in the City of Hamilton celebrates everything food. For more information visit www.cityofhamilton.bm
Match Racing. For Match Racing, pairs of identical sailing vessels, staffed by a rotating roster of teams from throughout the world, compete in elimination-style contests throughout the month. For details on international sailing events, see the entry for "International Race Week," under April, above.
Guy Fawkes Day. A small annual celebration with a minifair marks this day. The celebration starts with the traditional burning of 17th-century British traitor Guy Fawkes's effigy at the Keepyard of the Bermuda Maritime Museum, Royal Naval Dockyard, at 4:30pm. November 5.
The Opening of Parliament. A 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. For more information, call tel. 800/223-6106. November 6.
Invitation Tennis Weeks. More than 100 visiting players vie with Bermudians during 2 weeks of matches. Unlike Wimbledon -- this event's role model -- virtually everyone buys tickets at the gate. For information, contact the Bermuda Lawn Tennis Association (tel. 441/296-0834; www.blta.bm). Early November.
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 (tel. 441/295-6574; www.worldrugby.bm). Mid-November.
Bermuda Goodwill Tournament. Pro-amateur foursomes from international golf clubs play more than 72 holes on four of Bermuda's eight courses. 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, contact the Bermuda Goodwill Golf Tournament (tel. 441/295-4640; www.bermudagoodwill.org). Early December.
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.
National Trust Christmas Walkabout. Watch the Town of St. George’s come to life in 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.
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.