As the countdown begins to the start of 2016, Weekender takes a glance back at some of the entertainment highlights in Cayman over the year. With a mix of annual signature events that were building on their previous successes and some new one-off events, 2015 came in with a bang and appears to be leaving the same way.
Cayman Cookout, The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman
This year’s Cayman Cookout, hosted by chef Eric Ripert, was resoundingly successful in keeping Cayman on the map as the culinary destination to rival all others in the Caribbean. Designed to showcase a variety of epicurean talent, the food festival weekend offered outstanding fare prepared by top chefs, as well as tours, tastings, dinners and invaluable input on fine beverages by wine experts and spirit blenders.
‘The Woman In Black’ – a ghostly tale
This year was a great one locally for the performing arts, especially on the stage. Cayman Drama Society set the ball rolling by kicking off its annual roster of shows with “The Woman in Black.” This ghostly tale, at the Prospect Playhouse, garnered rave reviews and did well at the box office.
Cayman Open Tennis Tournament
The seventh annual tennis tournament in Cayman, hosted by the Cayman Islands Tennis Club, fielded a clutch of international pros alongside a team of local players. The free three-day event was a boon to fans and was appreciated for bringing superior tennis to the island.
Cayman Fashion Week
Couture and runway fabulousness were the order of the day during the fifth year of Cayman Fashion Week, which showcased some stunning collections from homegrown designers and welcomed an international designer to Cayman’s shores.
The shows, as well as delighting fashion mavens who flocked to see the latest creations of designers, including Isy B., were equally about celebrating and acknowledging Cayman as a small but growing presence in the regional fashion firmament. Hugely popular U.S. designer Nicole Miller attended the event to showcase her Spring 2016 Street Sweet collection.
Cayman’s annual comedy review with its satirical take on local life, its catchy tunes and lampooning of political life on the island was a hearty mix that went down well, like its namesake stew. Staged by the Cayman National Cultural Foundation, the review has a 21-year history of tickling the funny bones of the theater-going public and has gained a stalwart following from audiences that cuts across age and nationality.
CayFilm – Cayman International Film Festival
Lights! Camera! Action! The four-day film festival stepped up a gear this year, fast creating a buzz as a bona fide Mecca for the screening of the brightest and best in locally made films.
As a well as daily screenings and Q&A sessions with rising filmmakers, CayFilm included panel discussions, a celebrity gala event, workshops and an exclusive premiere screening.
July 4 and the Mud Run
Known as a quiet month for entertainment on the island, July was dominated by a healthy mix of choice summer camps for the islands’ youngsters. Of course, it started off with a busy weekend for hotels with lots of tourists coming to Cayman for the July 4 holiday, which meant fireworks set off around the island. There was also the Mud Run on July 11, when enthusiastic competitors got into the muck while negotiating a very challenging course.
With it being blisteringly hot and humid outdoors, those who stayed on island in August headed to Regal Cinema more than usual. Guy Ritchie’s “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” hit the big screen, featuring fantastic costumes and actions scenes, in contrast to the much quieter, yet more deadly “The Gift,” starring Jason Bateman. Those who watched the latter no doubt left the cinema thinking back on their behavior in school.
‘Rent’ – The musical
Cayman Drama Society’s stage version of the Pulitzer and Tony Award winning musical about young bohemians in New York’s East Village struggling with life, love and AIDS and the impact in the U.S. was a hit from opening night. Strong direction, acting and, above all, singing made this production one of the must-see highlights of Cayman’s entertainment year. The show dealt with a number of modern issues sensitively and with a sense of élan worthy of the original film version.
Cayman Cocktail Week
Cayman Cocktail Week stirred up plenty of interest with a host of drinks events across Grand Cayman. Whether you are a cocktail connoisseur or simply fancy adding a few new drinks to your repertoire, the multi-location had something to suit all tastes. Kicking off with a themed event hosted by Icoa, the week also included a rare rum tasting and well-priced happy hours across Grand Cayman. Food was also very much a part of the mix, including a tapas lunch and a cocktail dinner.
Revelers celebrated the old and the new at this year’s Pirates Week. Alongside the pirates’ invasion and landing, street dances, parade and food festival and the cardboard boat race, there were debut events such as the pooch parade, which raised funds for the Cayman Islands Humane Society, and an illumination parade, which encouraged each district to show off their spectacular floats in a new light. The multi-location event also included the Sister Islands in the Little Cayman Heritage Celebration and the Brac Heritage Celebration. For those with a mania for fireworks, dressing up in pirate gear, and music and mayhem, this was one for you.
Cayman 27’s Parade of Lights
With so much to choose from – from school Christmas concerts and fairs to sporting events – during December, punters were spoiled for choice. Cayman 27’s Parade of Lights, however, has to stand out as one of the best attended events and the most dazzling. Competing boats were ablaze with color and lights and made a bright procession at the waterfront in Camana Bay. Fairy lights, glowing Santas and sparkling snowmen festooned the boat decks, with captains and crews vying to best embody this year’s “Children’s Stories” theme. In time-honored fashion, the Parade of Lights was capped off with a spectacular fireworks display reflected on the North Sound.
Cookout is always delectable. – Photo: Stephen Clarke