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First Harbour Nights for two years

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Harbour Nights resumed for the first time in two years last night when crowds of people came to Front Street to shop, eat and listen to music. (Photo by Akil Simmons)

A carnival atmosphere returned to Front Street yesterday evening with the first Harbour Nights festival in almost two years.

The road was closed off to traffic to allow merchants and food vendors to set up their stalls, while pedestrians soaked up the party atmosphere to thumping Reggae music.

Although a strong breeze blew through the street, rain clouds thankfully failed to put a dampener on the occasion.

Callie Winadu, from Hamilton, said: “It’s just great to be out, although it does feel a bit different. There doesn’t seem to be as much interaction – there’s still this social distancing going on.”

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Kendaree Burgess, the chief executive officer of the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce, which organises the event, acknowledged that there were differences from pre-Covid-19 Harbour Nights.

She explained that there were fewer stalls than usual – around 35 rather than the 60 or 70 that normally fill the venue.

And long lines formed at the entrance to the food court, which was manned by security guards. Entrants had to produce a SmartKey proving that they had recently had a negative Covid-19 test.

“I think it’s a surprisingly good turnout – a mix of locals and tourists,” Ms Burgess said.

“We do have fewer vendors but the quality is good. There are some regulars but also some new ones.

“The weather’s held off and everyone is having a good time.”

Asked why customers needed to produce a SmartKey to enter the open-air food court, Ms Burgess said with a shrug: “It’s the regulations.

“But it really hasn’t been a problem at all. There’s been very little resistance to it.

“In fact even for tourists who didn’t know about it – they‘ve been able to show us on their phones that they’ve had a negative test and so it’s been fine.“

Business was brisk at the Four Star Pizza stall.

Server Vinod Kumar said it felt great to be back at the event after almost two years.

“There is some inconvenience with the long lines, but you have to accept that.

“But otherwise, it’s been a great night. It feels like life is returning to normal. I just think everyone wanted the chance to come out tonight and enjoy themselves.”

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Published July 22, 2021 at 7:52 am (Updated July 22, 2021 at 7:52 am)

First Harbour Nights for two years

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