Events and festivals are always lively events, regardless of where they take place. The importance of attending one during your Dominica vacation is that you get to mingle with the locals and learn about the things that are so important to them they are worth celebrating.
- Carnival: Quintessentially Caribbean, the annual Carnival festivities sweep through the region in a colorful mess of masquerade costumes, people dancing through the streets, parades, beauty pageants, concerts, jump-ups, and more. In Dominica, Carnival takes place in March, right before Lent, but festivities are spread out throughout the month prior, and in fact, competitions to determine who the Calypso King will be begin as early as January and run through the Saturday before Carnival when the final Calypso King is crowned. The winner then becomes the Carnival King who, along wth Miss Dominica who is the Carnival Queen, marches in the Traditional Costume Parade on Carnival Monday. Other events on the Carnival line up include the Grand Opening Parade, Pan by the Bay, and two days of Jump Up. The season officially closes on Ash Wednesday when the "Vaval" is held in Dublanc.
- Emancipation Festival:Sometime between July and August this event is held, celebrating the freedom of black slaves on the island. Events include dramatic performances, local music and dance, art displays, and food offerings.
- Independence Celebrations: Just a few months later in November the island celebrates its independence from Great Britain as well as local heritage with events like a Military Parade, Cultural Gala, Heritage Day, Creole Day, and Market Day.
- Heritage Day: One of the most notable cultural days, Heritage Day takes place in a different village each year and celebrates what makes that village unique and a contributing "member" of Dominica's society.
- Creole Day: Held throughout the island, everyone is encouaged to dress up in traditional costume to honor local culture on Creole Day.
- Kalingo Week: A celebration of the culture of the island's indigenous people, this September event is held around the same time as a deadly trade sipute that occured in the 1930s that became an important moment in the history of the Kalingo community. The week includes arts and crafts, food, dance, and panel discussions aboud culture and history.
- Hike Fest: Get out and be active with like-minded individuals. The hike takes place in May of each year, and encourages locals and tourists to try out one of the island's known hiking trails.
- Divefest: In July, the Dominica Watersports Association hosts this popular event The goal of the festival is to educate people on the island's most popular attraction. Events include presentations about marine life, swim races, kayak races, scuba lessons, scuba diving expeditions, a barbecue, and live music.
- International Cricket: Held at the Windsor Park Stadium, this event is for cricket lovers from around the world. In addition to watching the sport, which is very popular on the island, there are also a number of parties that surround the games.
- Jazz n' Creole Festival: In May this festival is held at Fort Shirley in Cabrits National Park. This event gives local jazz musicians the opportunity to share their musical talent with participants, and musicans from neighboring French islands often participate as well.
- World Creole Music Festival: Zouk, reggae, and calypso rhythms ring out for one weekend in October of each year, typically starting on the same day as the Creole Festival. Numerous performers in these genres come from around the world and take the stage in Rouseau's Windsor Park Stadium allowing local artists to share traditional Creole music. This includes compas from Haiti, soukouss from Africa, zydeco from Louisiana, zouk from Martinique and Guadeloupe, salsa from Cuba and much more. Tickets for the whole event cost $120, or just $44(USD) if you can only attend for one night.
- End of October: For three nights at the end of the month, Creole music is celebrated with lots of live music and dancing.
Other Events and Festivals
...raise awareness about Caribbean birds.
- Dominica Festival of the Arts: this event runs each year from April to June, with a number of cultural events. Be on the lookout for concerts, art openings, and special theatrical performances.
- Caribbean Endemic Bird Festival: Between the months of April and May, Dominica is one of 17 Caribbean nations that participate in this festival in order to raise awareness about Caribbean birds. Various activities are planned each year, ranging from group bird watching events to lectures.
- Giraudel-Eggleston Flower Show: Dominica displays all of her natural beauty at the show in May, which features creative flower displays and arrangements, as well as island-grown fruits and vegetables.
- Pork Festival: Held in the southeastern village of Bagatelle in May, this event is exactly what you'd expect it to be: a celebration of pork! Try a variety of pork-based dishes, listedn to live music, and participate in games.
- Goat Fest: In La Plaine Village, which is a major farming area, goats are celebrated with a goat race, goat food, and much more.
- Nature Island Literary Festival: If you're a lover of literature, you won't want to miss August's lit fest at UWI in Roseau. There are workshops, poetry readings, and book fairs galore, all of which are free events.
- Rabbit Festival: One of the most unique events on the island is Cochrane's Rabbit Festival. It is held in August and celebrates the use of rabbit in local cuisine with an abundance of rabbit based dishes as well as games, exhibitions, "Rabbit Races," and a variety of events for kids.
- Titiwi Festival: Another celebration centered on food is the Titiwi Festival. The Titiwi is a very small fish often caught in the mouth of the Layou River in the village of Layou on Dominica's west coast. Thousands of the fish are caught here each month, and the festival gives everyone a chance to try dishes that include the little swimmer. To round things out, there are also zip-line tours of the area, boat rides, ATV rides, sack races, and other sporty events plus live music and a craft show. The festival takes place in September.
From honoring the island's independence, to putting together a beautiful flower display, to hosting the Caribbean's most popular annual event, Dominica knows how to host a party.