Thursday, September 13, 2012

Independence Celebration

I've been really busy getting settled in here in St. Kitts, finding a car, an apartment, and learning my way around the island. I wanted to do a brief post about St. Kitts and Nevis's 2012 Independence Day Celebrations.

Independence Day for The Federation of Saint Christopher and Nevis took place on September 19th, 1983. The federation is celebrating only its 29th year of independence, making it the youngest sovereign state in the Americas.

I'm excited to experience an independence day celebration in a foreign country since I have only seen the Fourth of July celebrations in the United States. What better way to become better acquainted with my new country of residence to go to some Independence Day activities?

I heard a man talking about the country's history today on 102.5 Kyss FM  The speaker listed the activities, but I couldn't catch all of them, so I had to go do some investigation of my own.  The first place I stopped was at one of the Ministry of Tourism offices, which is probably the easiest government office to find in town. It's right in the center of Basseterre, near the post office on the edge of Port Zante.
Post Office Basseterre, St. Kitts
However, the tourism office directed me to drive across town to The Ministry of Community Development, Culture and Gender Affairs for a list of all the activities. One advantage of living on a small island nation of only approximately 40,000 people is that all of the federal offices are within a few minutes' drive from each other.

Once I arrived there, two friendly ladies gave me a list of the schedule of activities for Independence Celebration 2012. The activities take place over 17 days and include a Cultural Gala at the National Museum, three running races, several parades, and the opening of the new Social Security Building. This year's theme is "Cherishing Children, Strengthening Families." Three days are designated as public holidays, including September 16th and 17th as National Heroes Days and the 19th as Independence Day. Wow! This country knows how to celebrate.

If you're into running, like I am, then you'll be interested to know that the first running event will take place this Saturday the 15th at 10 a.m. The run is a 10k race organized by the Embassy of Venezuela on Delisle Street in Basseterre. If you're really a hardcore runner then you can run the 10k and the Hash on the same day. I plan to skip the 10k and just do the hash myself.

The second run is the Independence Fun Run, which takes place on Sunday the 16th at 3 p.m. I couldn't find much information about this run.

The third and probably most challenging run is the Brimstone Hill Run for the Fit and Fearless. Even the name sounds tough.

Looking North towards the Fort

The Road leading up to the Fort
Aerial View

If you've ever been to Brimstone Hill then you'll have an appreciation for how far up it sits on top of the hill, which is more like a mountain. The pictures don't adequately portray the extremely steep pitch of the road leading to the fort. I'm not sure how long the run will be or where the route is, so I guess I'll have to run it to find out.

A completed registration form submitted to the Brimstone Hill Fortress office on Taylor's Range by September 24th and $10 Eastern Caribbean ($5 E.C. for individuals under age 17) are required to participate. Late registration is available from September 25th thru September 28th, but there will be no registration on the morning of the run.  You can download the registration form at Brimstone Hill

You can also visit the Office of the Prime Minister's Website to find out more about Independence Day Celebrations.

Happy Independence Day St. Kitts and Nevis!