“Embracing our African Heritage”
Montserrat Calabash Festival was first held in July 2006 as the island’s summer festival.
Annually held during the week of July 18th, which commemorates the anniversary of our Soufrière Hills volcano that became active on July 18th, 1995. Coupled with remembering July 18th, the summer festival provides an ideal opportunity for everyone to join in thanksgiving for our blessings, to experience enthusiastic, fun, cultural and interactive activities that showcase who we are as a people.
The calabash is a symbol of strength, versatility, and resilience.
A central point of the festival is the feature of the products of the calabash fruit as a cottage industry.
An array of beautiful calabash products, which are artistically carved and decorated for use in a variety of ways. Some such items consist of handbags, hanging baskets, masks, decorative art objects, musical instruments, bowls, jewellery and clothing accessories such as buttons and appliqués.
This initiative seeks to promote our local crafts industry by producing various products made from and/or incorporating the calabash fruit.
The week also includes the Dr. George Irish Lecture series. The late Dr. Irish was the first local Tutor to head the Extra Mural Department of the University of the West Indies on Montserrat. He was also involved in several community activities. He was the founder of the popular Emerald Community Singers, The Montserrat Theatre Group, the President of The Montserrat Allied Workers Union and had many other involvements.
Over the years the festival has included Gospel and jazz concerts and cricket games.
The Grand Food Fair is the most popular event featuring local food from around the Caribbean.
The founding members and organisers were President Annie Dyer Howe (deceased), Aldean Moore Williams, Eudora Osborne, Rose Willock, Merle Galloway, Vereen Thomas Woolcock, Florence Griffith Joseph, Pat Ryan, Hyacinth Bramble Browne, and Marie Sorivelle.