Thousands throng to St George as National Trust Christmas Walkabout returns
All eyes were on St George’s last night as thousands of revellers took in the sights of the Old Town at the return of the Christmas walkabout.
Restaurants, bars and shops were open late with historic Bermuda National Trust properties at their festive finest.
Karen Border, executive director of the charity, said the Trust had been gearing up for “a big crowd” after the pandemic put the popular event on hold.
The crowd did not disappoint, according to George Dowling III, the Mayor of St George, who strolled among guests to the East End with Rena Lalgie, the Governor.
“Turnout is absolutely fantastic,” said Mr Dowling just after 6.30pm yesterday.
“It’s actually exceeding my expectations at this point – the parking lot at Tiger Bay is full, and right now we are walking through a sea of humanity.”
The Trust eased traffic this year with a free shuttle bus service taking guests from Ferry Reach just before the Swing Bridge.
The new arrangement worked well, according to Dorte Horsfield, the Trust’s head of development and engagement.
“Absolutely phenomenal – it is just an utter success,” she said as entertainment kicked off at 6pm.
“The Town Crier is just starting introducing the night’s events. There will be three hours of beautiful performances – everything’s looking very festive and people are very excited to be here.”
King’s Square had music and dance directed by E Michael Jones, the Town Crier – culminating with the Bermuda Island Pipe Band, the Highland Dancers and followed by the Royal Bermuda Regiment Band.
Jamal Woodley who manages Ital Juice Cafe on York Street, said: “It’s real nice, got a good crowd out – I’m new to this but it’s been a lot of people since early.”
Mr Woodley, who opened the business recently with his girlfriend, said the turnout would likely keep him open until as late as 9.30pm.
At the Dragon’s Lair Art Gallery, artist Heather Kromer was elated at the night’s numbers.
She said: “They have turned out in force. It’s a wonderful evening; the St George’s vibe is great, and we’re seeing all sorts of people that we have not seen in ages.”
Ms Kromer added that the new transport arrangement had worked a treat.
“For a lot of people there is somewhat limited parking, so this seems to have gone quite well.
“People came down early so we started a little early this year – why not? There are so many people out and in great spirits. It’s wonderful.”
Ms Border said the night had gone beyond hopes, adding: “It is absolutely packed and the atmosphere is wonderful,” she said. “We have practically filled the space around Kindley Field, and you know how long a stretch that is. I couldn’t begin to guess how many people – there are thousands.”
She said the shuttle buses had been a success, with the Trust hoping to add more next year.
“People came out early, which has been particularly good for shopkeepers from this afternoon. They’re here not just for the National Trust houses and the entertainment, but to do Christmas shopping, and the food vendors are doing very well.
“The town is definitely heaving – it is a very cheerful and positive atmosphere in St George’s.”
• To view the schedule of events for the 2022 Christmas Walkabout, click on the PDF under “Related Media”.