Garden party fellowship

Webster United Memorial Church New Year’s Day garden party was a day of fun and fellowship.

Tahiti Seymour, left, and Dejea Lyons

Tahiti Seymour, left, and Dejea Lyons with a bowl from Twylas collection of antiques. Photo: Jewel Levy

The century-old tradition, put on by the congregation, has always been a welcomed occasion for Bodden Towners and guests to revisit older day of service, browse photos and memoirs as well as eat local food while fellowshipping in the church hall.

Growing up in the neighbourhood everyone looked forward to attending the New Year’s Day party.

Residents and out-of-towners would also use the joyous occasion to meet up with old friends and family.

Tales of how big a mango, pumpkin, sweet potato, sugar cane or cassava root had grown were passed around during the outdoor function.

For the occasion everyone also saved the best of produce, craft or homemade food to be on display during auction time.

This was the best part of the garden party. Some over zealous bidders often paid triple for what the produce was worth, but it was always for a good laugh because they knew all the proceeds would go to a good cause – the church fund.

The children were given a few pence to purchase homemade candies and cakes and told to be good or the junkanoo would cart them off.

Junkanoo was the highlight of Webster’s New Year’s Day Garden party.

The town’s comedians would dress in old clothes, cover their faces with paint and march the streets from Guard House Hill to Webster’s Church, dancing to the beat of banging pots and pans.

This was also done in the spirit of good laughs and the few shillings collected were handed over to the church.

When it came time for the auction children would stick very close to the older folks hoping one would give them a mango after they had purchased it.

Today, even without the junkanoo, church members still take the time to make sure visitors have a good time fellowshipping.

On Tuesday, visitors were able to sample home made cakes, candies and local dishes.

The children enjoyed face painting and gift drawing.

Also on display were local produce such as pumpkins, sugar cane and cassava. These were later auctioned those in attendance.

Bodden Town artisan Twyla Vargas also contributed to the occasion by displaying some of her artefacts and antiques. During the night’s variety show she read a story about the Ghost of the Mission House.