THURSDAY, MAY 24: Thousands of Bermudians and visitors took to the streets of Hamilton today for the May 24 celebrations — widely acknowledged here as the start of summer.
Bermuda Day crowds thronged the city streets for the traditional parade, led by the band of the Bermuda Regiment.
The weather was warm but muggy, with occasional showers, but the atmosphere was joyful.
Steve and Jessica Marsella, from Rhode Island, arrived on the island only hours before the parade kicked off.
Mr Marsella said: “It’s great times — we love it. “
Ms Marsella added: “We just got off the plane, unpacked and went to the parade — it’s lovely.”
George Mckay, 2nd Engineer on the cable-laying ship Wave Sentinel, which is docked in Bermuda, said he had been a regular visitor to the island over the past 20 years.
Mr Mckay, from Tyneside in the north of England, added: “It’s fabulous — it’s a great occasion for families to come together.
“Everybody enjoys themselves. I’ve worked all over the world in places like Brazil and Japan, but this is a special day. It’s a real family occasion.”
Islanders camped out overnight to be sure to get a prime spot to view the parade — while others had marked out their spots well in advance.
Coolers and tables piled high with food and drink lined the city’s sidewalks, as families made themselves at home for the afternoon’s festivities.
Rodney and Terry Wood, from Maine, are visiting Bermuda to celebrate their 29th wedding anniversary.
Mr Wood said: “It’s very nice. It’s very community focused, which is good.”
Ms Wood added: “We’ve been a bit disappointed about the weather. We hear you guys need the rain, but it’s not so good for us. The weather turned out alright today, though.”
“We’ve always wanted to see what Bermuda had to offer — the pictures we saw were beautiful and the people are very friendly. They should pride themselves on being so hospitable.”
Oliver Baltzer, originally from the German capital Berlin, but living in Canada, is on the island for business — but took time out to watch the festivities.
He said: “I think it’s pretty cool and I find it very interesting. It’s really funny that people were marking out their spot the day before.
“My colleagues in Bermuda told me people did that, but I didn’t believe it until I saw it. It’s very nice — it seems to me the whole island is here.”
The party spirit came to the fore when an MC and dozens of dancers took over Front Street for an impromptu mass performance of ‘Electric Slide’.
Raj Singh, who works at the popular Hog Penny bar and restaurant, said Bermuda Day had boosted trade.
He added: “It’s been really good for business — and I expect it to get even busier later on as well.”
Mimi Rogers, a visitor from New York, said: “It’s really lovely and interesting — I love the culture here. We didn’t know this was going to be happening when we booked, but it’s really nice.”
And the Edmonton Police Service Pipes and Drums, invited to the island by the Bermuda Islands Pipe Band, joined forces with the Bermuda pipers and got a rousing cheer for their rendition of ‘Scotland the Brave’.