Elbow Beach attracts Christmas crowds

  • A family of visitors from the United States gets a taste of Christmas at Elbow Beach (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
  • Fun time: Kevin Chapman spent Christmas at Elbow Beach (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
  • Fun time: Kevin Viotti with son Daniel, 7, months spent Christmas Day at Elbow Beach (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
  • Fun time: Jack Voyd, 3, spent Christmas Day with his family at Elbow Beach (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
  • Fun time: Helen Hornett spent Christmas Day at Elbow Beach (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
  • Fun time: Rob and Karen Crawford spent Christmas Day at Elbow Beach (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Festive partygoers braved a breezy start to the day for the traditional toast to Christmas at Elbow Beach.

About 150 people had joined in the celebrations on the South Shore beach by 11am, which brought together Bermudians, expatriate workers and tourists in an event that has run for decades.

Charlie Souza, a senior bartender with waterside bar firm Beach Boys, worked at a bar with company co-owner Dennie O’Connor to raise funds for children’s charity Big Brothers Big Sisters after he flew home last night from New Orleans.

Mr Souza said: “This is my first time doing this for many years, and considering I just came from a cold climate, it’s amazing.”

He added he had been on tour to several locations in the United States for Beach Boys to look at the hospitality industry in other destinations.

Mr Souza said: “This event is something really special for here. You never see anything quite like it anywhere else. It’s unique to Bermuda.”

The event offered a chance for residents far from their homelands to mingle with others and visitors got to see a Bermudian-style Christmas on the beach.

A Pennsylvania woman, who identified herself as Pam, visited the beach with her husband and two children.

She said she and her husband were regular spring visitors, but decided to try Christmas on the island with their children, who were on their first visit to Bermuda.

She said: “We wanted to spend a day at the beach, have lunch, and have a fun time here with people.

“It doesn’t matter that it’s not sunny. Where we’re from, it’s pretty cold.”

Mike DeSilva, from Paget, said the event was “a tradition. I do it every year”.

He added: “If it’s not raining, I’m here. A little cold won’t stop me — I live about five minutes away. I’ll find my usual spot and just hang out.”

Mr DeSilva said his grandson was enjoying his first Christmas down at the beach with family.

But he said he did not plan on joining the beachgoers who took the plunge into the sea.

Mr DeSilva explained: “I was born and raised here. I lived in Toronto for 25 years and I moved back 14 years ago.

“For the first three years, I took the plunge. Now I’m set back to Bermuda temperature.”

Among other first-timers were Gary Silva and Shane DeSilva, the co-owners of Hamilton bar Coconut Rock.

Mr Silva said: “It’s nice — I’m surprised this many people are here.”

Mr DeSilva, who said he was usually away over the festive season, added: “I’ve never been down here for Christmas.

“We came down to mix with the foreign people on the island and the local people having a good time. We will let the day take us.”