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Christmas Day tradition returns as hundreds flock to Elbow Beach

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Christmas 2021 at Elbow Beach: Stefanos from Cyprus and Konnie from Thailand enjoy the sunshine with their Chinese Shar-Pei, Chubba (Photograph by Jonathan Bell)

The traditional Christmas Day celebration in the sun returned with a bang this year as people popped champagne corks on the beach.

Hundreds headed to the Elbow Beach in Paget South Shore before noon to enjoy a special event, despite the gloom of Covid-19.

Among the Bermudian first-timers taking advantage of the balmy conditions were Charles Jeffers III, the chief executive of the Bermuda Tourism Authority, with his wife, Antoinette, and their children Courtney and Arrington.

Mr Jeffers said: “They’re being safe, but the pandemic didn’t stop people.

“I’m really excited and pleased to see that so many people came out to enjoy a beautiful Christmas, residents and visitors alike.”

Mr Jeffers added: “Years ago, we wouldn’t have been doing this, but it’s a new tradition for our family, so we wanted to come down and check it out.

“Usually it’s a charity event as well for Big Brothers Big Sisters, but with our new protocol they decided not to have it.”

Christmas 2021 at Elbow Beach: Charles Jeffers III, chief executive of the Bermuda Tourism Authority, with his son Arrington, wife Antoinette and daughter Courtney (Photograph by Jonathan Bell)

People enjoyed the sun and sand at a safe distance and rangers from the Department of Parks directed traffic to the South Shore beach, which had well over 300 people on it by midday.

Christmas 2021 at Elbow Beach: the South Shore beauty spot drew hundreds - to the water as well as the sand (Photograph by Jonathan Bell)

Among them were Stefanos from Cyprus, with Konnie from Thailand, and Chubba, their Chinese Shar-Pei.

Konnie, here for the first time, said beaches were popular at holiday times back home.

But she added: “Not like this, with everybody dressed up for Christmas.”

Stefanos, who has worked on the island for four years, said he had turned out in the past for the Christmas bash.

But last year, with the stairs to Elbow Beach still washed out from Hurricane Teddy, the traditional toast was made at Horseshoe Bay Beach instead.

He added: “It was not the same.”

But a new staircase delivered a steady stream of guests, many bringing children and dogs.

Christmas 2021 at Elbow Beach: Children get in the spirit (Photograph by Jonathan Bell)

Stefanos said it was enough to remind him of his Mediterranean island home.

He added: “It’s beautiful – but in Cyprus it’s colder now. You wouldn’t be in the water.”

The Bermuda Weather Service said an area of high pressure would keep the day bright and still – although a cold front scheduled to pass the island would probably bring gale-force gusts by Boxing Day.

A UK couple on holiday showered praise on Bermuda’s handling of the pandemic.

They said the smooth journey through Covid-19 tests at the airport and a Bermuda break was just what the doctor ordered.

Delle said her work with the Royal Flying Doctor Service, an air medical service in Australia, had kept her and partner Andy, a GP, apart at the height of the pandemic.

She added: “I’ve been working in the outback, so this is a real surprise – pink sand on the beach and Santa hats.”

Andy said dealing with the crisis on the medical front had been “like a Hollywood movie at times – just a bit surreal”.

Christmas 2021 at Elbow Beach: By noon the popular South Shore beach had upwards of a several hundred people (Photograph by Jonathan Bell)

The pair said they were delighted with the sunny day out for their Bermuda holiday – and looking forward to heading into the water.

Andy explained: “We’re here from the UK. This isn’t cold water – this is boiling hot.”

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Published December 28, 2021 at 7:54 am (Updated December 28, 2021 at 7:54 am)

Christmas Day tradition returns as hundreds flock to Elbow Beach

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