A lack of cricket failed to stop revellers enjoying Cup Match, they flooded to the island’s beaches to soak up the sun with family and friends during the holiday.
Normally, thousands of fans would have packed the Somerset Cricket Club ground for the annual classic, but the cancellation of the game because of the Covid-19 pandemic led many to celebrate the holiday on Horseshoe Bay and other beaches.
Police and soldiers from the Royal Bermuda Regiment conducted high-visibility patrols over the break and the festivities, by and large, passed without incident.
Hundreds of people visited Horseshoe Bay on Thursday to start the holiday weekend with sun and surf.
Alicia Steede said: “It feels a bit surreal to have Cup Match without cricket. It’s a little like Christmas without Santa.
“It’s a great excuse to come out and celebrate and be with your family, but everything feels spread out this year.
“Usually, everyone is in one place, and we don’t have that this year.”
She added: “I’m sure it will be a great holiday — the weather is Cup Match weather for sure — but it feels different.”
Richard Evans, originally from Canada, was disappointed not to celebrate his first Cup Match this year.
He said: “This is my first year on the island and it has been built up to sort of legendary proportions.
“We had an office game of Crown and Anchor and I was killing it, so I’m looking forward to next year when I can put some real money down.
“I guess the upside is I don’t have to pick a team this year.”
Karen Smith, who enjoyed the beach with her two children, said she did not often watch the cricket, but still went to the game every year to soak up the atmosphere.
She added: “It’s the one time of the year that you see absolutely everyone on the island, for better or worse.”
Ms Smith said that even without the classic, she was determined to make the most of the holiday.
She added: “I’m still going to have some terribly unhealthy food, I’m still going to have a drink and enjoy the sun and I’m still going to enjoy spending time with my friends and family.
“We need a break. We all need a break. 2020 has been rough. Four days isn’t quite enough, but it’s a good start.”
Mikal Lightbourne said that no cricket was a loss — but for him, it was far from the biggest.
He added: “What I’m missing is the concerts. Everyone’s talking about the cricket and I get it, but I’m missing that bacchanal.
“I completely get why it’s not happening this year, but it’s summer in Bermuda and we don’t have concerts — we didn’t have carnival.”
Mr Lightbourne said: “I can’t wait for all this to clear up so we can get back to normal.”
Andrew Foster said that he was going to miss the cricket but felt the cancellation of the Cup Match classic was a sensible precaution in a public-health crisis.
He added: “I am obviously disappointed that we can’t bring the cup back to St George’s this year.
“That’s first and foremost. It has been at the wrong end of the island for far too long.”
Mr Foster added: “Even if they did have the game, I don’t know how many people would go. I think most Bermudians are pretty sensible about these sorts of things, so having everyone clumped together wouldn’t sound like the most attractive option right now, but it’s still a loss.
“It’s hard and it’s tough, but we are all making sacrifices right now. We’ll just have to get the cup back next year.”
Andrea Glasgow hoped that this year people would take the time to remember the meaning of the holiday — the celebration of emancipation.
She said: “There are a lot of young people who treat every holiday like it’s a drinking holiday, but this is about our ancestors and what they went through.
“It’s a celebration, but we can’t let that get ahead of the message.”
Ms Glasgow added: “I hope this virus is gone by next year and I hope people can enjoy the holiday as they like, but hopefully this year will let people remember why we have a reason to celebrate.”