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2006-04-05 02:09:33

A Joyous Coconut Festival Expected

Celebrated during the Easter weekend, the 8th Annual Coconut Fest will kick off an electrifying string of activities that will take place in East End from April 14 - 17.

For many people, April signifies the beginning of the spring season, but for the folks in Pelican Point, it marks the preparation for another joyous Coconut Festival.

Celebrated during the Easter weekend, the 8th Annual Coconut Fest will kick off an electrifying string of activities that will take place in East End from April 14 - 17.

Activities for the cultural event were announced yesterday at a press conference at Tranquility Shores by Coconut Fest Committee member Ellen Stewart.

"We are once again putting a lot of planning into this event and want to assure you that it will keep getting better and better," she said. "We will have a lot of native stuff like coconut tart, coconut jimmy, coconut pie and many more coconut dishes," she said. "This year as a special feature, we will be having the coconut platting contest using coconut strings to demonstrate the many things such as baskets and hats that can be made."

In addition to the many wonderful activities planned for the festival, is the first National Culinary Classic.

Chef Devin Johnson, who was deeply involved in the planning of the event explained that the competition will feature 24 of the top chefs throughout The Bahamas who will be competing in the first annual Culinary Hot Food competition

It is a one hour competition where chefs must complete a four portion meal using indigenous items to The Bahamas on a two burner stove outside.

Coconut will be this year's main feature.

"We want our chefs to showcase down- home cooking and not competition art work, so that local housewives can prepare these items at home," he said. "Along with the signature ingredient coconut, we would like to see such items as island grown vegetables, seafood, goat and wild hog just to name a few."

Judges from the American Culinary Association will be judging the competition, so hygiene and sanitation will play a major part in the preparation of the dishes.

The festivities will begin on Friday, April 14 with the annual Gospel Fest and fish fry between the hours of 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. On April 15 will be a full day of fun with a 'Family Fun day,' which will begin at 10 a.m. and Monday, April 17 will be the official opening and cultural festival 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Praising the Pelican Point residents for utilizing their skills and talents for the benefit of their community, Member of Parliament for High Rock Kenneth Russell said he is always pleased to be a part of the Coconut Festival.

"This is an opportunity for the residents of Pelican Point to see some economic growth from these coconuts and I believe that this growth has assisted Pelican Point very well in their realization of the things that the community and the people need to do in order to survive," he said. "I salute them for coming up with this idea and should they continue, I believe that it could grow."

Ministry of Tourism official Renamae Symonette explained that the community of Pelican Point will benefit from the event by inviting The Bahamas and the world to their community, and placing their talent, individual culture and team spirit on stage, while at the same time receiving much needed economic income for themselves and their community.

By ANGELO ARMBRISTER, Freeport News Reporter

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