“Flights are filled, hotel rooms are being filled up, vendors are shopping in preparation. One t-shirt printing business is blowing up with conch t-shirt sales!” an excited Union Island Tourist Board Chairman Stanton Gomes reports.
All of this “economic stimulation” as hoped for by Chairman Gomes, in a previous ANN exclusive, “is already taking place” in anticipation of the inaugural Union Island Conch Festival. The local delicacy would be celebrated in a weekend long calendar of events.
The producers saw fit to kick things off with an invitation for patrons to support local restaurants. As such conch lunches would be available at various Union Island restaurants on Friday 28th . And then the Lime and Sip bar situated at Junction would host the “Conch in the Street Lime.”
Saturday 29th would herald, as the first major event, the Conch Festival to be hosted at the Tourism Board re-purposed Fisheries Complex. While there, visitors and Union Islanders alike would be welcomed to sample the wares at the vendors’ food court. Seafood lovers would appreciate the promised feast that is said would include lobster, fish and wide array of the main attraction prepared in ways meant to titillate and entice the taste buds.
Sundry contests inclusive of marine based rivalries in swimming and stand up paddle races as well as several unique terra firma challenges would also engage patrons on Saturday. Conch dish, conch shell blowing & painting and conch & dumpling eating competitions are just a few examples of what the Union Island Tourist Board has in store. Bouncing castles, educational booths and art & craft are also added attractions to Saturday’s affair.
Then on Sunday 1, Luta is expected to motivate the anticipated crowd at Sparrow’s Beach Club for the Board’s “Conch on the Beach” fiesta. We caught up with “the crowd motivator” en route to his Trindad hotel (minutes after official carnival celebrations there ended) and he affirmed his readiness “to come leggo conchs in Union Island for the Conch Festival.”
According to the promoters this event would feature “beach style conch on sale” with BOOM 106.9’s (and fellow Union Islander) DJ Shady, Masterpiece out of Antigua, pannist Mark Simmons and others rounding out the entertainment offerings. Sunday’s event carries a modest admission fee to help offset production costs.
If you happen to be unlucky enough to miss out on the overnight Union Island experience then KP Marine, Howard Driving School and Bickles are working together to afford you an opportunity to wet your appetite on Sunday. Together they form ticket outlets for a “Conch on the Beach excursion on board the Gem Star 2” ferry. Patrons have the options of paying per vehicle or individually to ensure their commute. All tickets are round trip and the on board entertainer would be Hot 97.1 SVG’s “Legendary 2Kool Kris.”
Departure from Kingstown is set for 6 a.m. and the party would make pit stops in Canouan and Mayreau with breakfast to be served on board. Telephone numbers 784 493 2522 (Kingstown) or 784 530 7098 (Union Island) are to be called for further clarity.
So far Rasta Medz, Coreas Distribution, Teachers’ Cooperative Credit Union, Sparrow’s Beach Club, Facey Trading, Wind & Sea Yacht,Gem star ,Bequia Express , Charters, Kings Landing, Anchorage Yacht Club, TJs Plaza, the Tobago Cays Marine Park, Union Seafood and “the only nationwide full service LTE provider” Digicel are the partnering brands who have all signed on in support of the novel concept. According to Gomes, in an earlier Asbert News Network interview, “the Conch Festival is part of a larger plan by the Tourist Board to promote Union Island more than ever before…. It is envisioned that the Festival could eventually become an international culinary attraction for St. Vincent and the Grenadines.”
Shrewd planners and strategic tacticians, the Board contrived to date the first ever Conch Festival as a teaser to their much anticipated annual Easterval festivities set to run from April 5th – 13th this year.