Inaugural Milk River festival a success
Horace Fisher, Gleaner Writer
Organisers of the recently held Milk River Seafood and Jerk Festival are still basking in its successes, which drew hundreds of patrons from all walks of life to the Farquhar Beach in Milk River, Clarendon, to feast on the mouth-watering seafood and jerk treats, to swim, and to be entertained.
The inaugural food festival, which is a fundraiser for the Milk River tourism organisation tourism initiatives, saw patrons descending on the southern Clarendon coastline from very early for the deliciously succulent jerked, fried, roasted, and grilled pork, mutton, chicken, fish, and other seafoods that kept the chefs busy all day satisfying patrons' palates.
"This is the inaugural staging of the Milk River Seafood and Jerk Festival, and so far, it has been an overwhelming success. Quite a number of sponsors have come on board and patrons have turned out in their numbers," the event's chief executive officer, Stephanie Elliot, boasted to the Rural Xpress team.
"I believe we have pulled off a coup in snagging some big-name sponsors in this tough economic time, namely: The Jamaica Tourist Board, IGL, Rum Fire, Ministry of Local Government and Community Development, Clarendon Chamber of Commerce, Clarendon Parish Council, Busta, CARILED (Caribbean Local Econonic Development Project), and Phoenix Motors, who donated a motor car for the gate prize," the festival's CEO bragged.
Elliott hopes that the festival will become a household name and a calendar event based on its first-time response. She noted that with the planned introduction of the resort area ferry service extending into Milk River within the next two years, visitors will have direct access to the festival and other attractions in the Milk River area.
"We have a very ambitious plan to attract 25 per cent of Jamaica's tourist market to Milk River for the development of the area and, by extension, Jamaica's south coast physical, economic, and social infrastructures. We have already started training persons in a number of tourist-related disciplines," Elliott said.
Apart from the sumptuous seafood and jerk fare, patrons also had a jolly time splashing in the sea, rocking to the Blue Glade Mento Band, D'Angel, Celcius, Sim Sim, Tuggy Bear and Atiba, Rain Seville, Wayne J, Miss Kitty, and a host of other entertaining acts.
"It is a good thing for the community. Every community in Jamaica should have something like this. As you can see, a lot of persons are here, foreigners and locals, and my stall is going well. I cannot complain," Rastafarian vendor George Rochester told Rural Xpress in an elaborate endorsement of the Milk River Seafood and Jerk Festival.
Businessman Horace Peterkin, who took his Wrap Trap Cuisine and Pussy Cat Rum all the way from St James to the Clarendon coastline, also gave the festival the thumbs-up and said the festival would grow with time.
Just give it time. It will get bigger and better. Remember, I told you so," Peterkin told Rural Xpress.