Opening night of the recent tradition, Cayman Thanksgiving, featured a celebratory “Homecoming” concert and a spectacular fireworks display at the Agriculture Pavilion on Friday.
Promoters might not have seen as large a crowd as anticipated, but for those attending, it was a rocking good time.
The lineup of local bands and artists included Natasha Kozaily, Regeneration, Inverse and the much-loved Swanky Kitchen Band, which had the audience clapping, bobbing heads and dancing up a storm to a number of old-time Cayman favorites.
Also during the evening, candles were lit in tribute to and in memory of a number of Cayman’s musicians, including Fred McArthur, Cobourn Miller, Harvey Miller and Troy Studenhofft. The event also featured a Cayman history brainteaser and a wide selection of local cuisine.
The Thanksgiving was celebrated with a family fun day at the Agriculture Pavilion on Saturday and dinners at several local restaurants on Sunday.
Now in its third year, the celebration is meant to be a time for everyone to count their blessings and to celebrate Cayman’s colorful culture and heritage, according to Anthonia Spencer, a founding member of the Cayman Thanksgiving Planning Committee.
“We have a mix of cultures and people from all walks of life,” she says. “This is a day where we can all unite. It’s a time to set aside our differences and focus on our blessings.”
How it started
The idea for the celebration came from the younger generation – a 9-year-old girl, to be exact. Kayci Rose was learning about American Thanksgiving in school and wondered why Cayman doesn’t have a thanksgiving.
It’s a question she posed to her parents, Samuel and Elkie Rose, and the family decided to put on their own celebration.
“My wife, her best friend and my mother started to talk about how they could put on a special Cayman-themed thanksgiving for Kayci,” recalls Samuel Rose. “They challenged themselves to cook a traditional Caymanian meal completely with locally grown produce. It was while we sat around the table on that first thanksgiving Sunday in 2010 … that we as a family decided to share this with the rest of the community.”
Rose reached out to the broader community to see if there was enough interest to make Cayman Thanksgiving a national celebration, and it snowballed from there.
“It is our hope that on the first Sunday of December we will unite – Caymanians, expats, visitors – and celebrate all that’s good in Cayman.”
Spencer says Cayman Thanksgiving has grown tremendously since its inception, with more families, nonprofit groups and other organizations coming on board.
Among the groups involved is the Cayman Islands Tourism Association. CITA executive director Jane van der Bol says the weekend is an ideal way to promote the islands and its people.
Staff writer Jenny Gabruch contributed to this story.