Bahamas Carnival: Spotlight on Quinton "Barabbas" Woodside
White sand beaches and conch salad are no longer the only lures for millions of tourists who come to The Bahamas annually. Would be travelers may want to check out the annual Bahamas Carnival.
Not to be confused with Junkanoo Parade in December (which is more of a parade where the participants perform for spectators), the Springtime Carnival has the nightlife and public parade of bands standard in a Caribbean celebration. In only its third year, The Bahamas competes with other newbies like Bermuda and Cayman to appeal to outsiders.
Part of the Carnival is the mas band competition, which is a cutthroat business where the result is always controversial. Band leaders take the competition seriously and will gladly snitch on a rival if they do not adhere to the strict guidelines of theme and the use of cardboard and crepe paper in their designs. "When it comes to mas, it's every man for himself," we were told. However, it is hard not to root for Quinton "Barabbas" Woodside, leader of the now three-time mas band Barabbas Carnival Tribe.
Woodside owns the humble costume supply shop and museum known as Junkanoo World. Tucked behind the high grass of an open lot the location is easily missed from the Horseshoe Drive main road. However, if you venture beyond the brush, you will encounter a haven of mas and music that is not to be missed.
Woodside spoke of his passion for costume making and always outdoing his designs from the previous year. He revealed a large one man costume that nearly touched the high ceiling and had my fellow travel writers wondering how one person would maneuver the massive structure.
Woodside is well-known in Nassau, but he has also made headlines for his involvement in Miami Dolphins halftime shows, the closing ceremony of the World Games in Edmonton, Canada, and events in Georgia. Yet it is his work with children that is his true passion.
Visit Junkanoo World at #5 Horseshoe Drive in Nassau. Feel free to add to the contents of the small donation box at the door of the museum, which is periodically given to a local family in need.
Congratulations to Barabbas Carnival Tribe. See you on the road next year!