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Stabroek News

'Ochi' gears for seafood festival
published: Thursday | July 31, 2008

Seafood cake. - file

There used to be a time when Ocho Rios - in terms of entertainment - was simply the forgotten town. And for good reason. It was simply the one resort town that did not have a signature event on the local calendar.

But no more. Thanks to Natchilus Promtions Limited, a group of young local entrepreneurs, Ocho Rios can now boast of having what might arguably be the biggest seafood festival in the entire island, the Ocho Rios Seafood Festival.

The event, in only its second year, is slated for Sunday and will again be held at the picturesque Turtle River Park, Ocho Rios.

"The entire equation changed last year when we managed to pull in a crowd way in excess of 10,000 persons, in our very first year," Sean Dixon, marketing manager for Natchilus Promotions Limited explained.

Local calendar

"While Montego Bay could brag of having arguably the two biggest events on the local calendar, the Air Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival, and Reggae Sumfest, we had nothing here in Ocho Rios."

Dixon continued: "Adding further insult to injury, Negril would always be reminding us of the firm grip it has on Spring Break, not to mention the annual summer blockbusters, ATI and RTI. Even Portland had a big say with its annual Portland Jerk Festival. Now, it is our turn to brag as, in the Ocho Rios Seafood Festival, we now have a signature event that can hold its own against any food festival in this country."

He added that plans for the event are going well and interest has grown tremendously since last year. "The response has been overwhelming. We now have Wisynco on board as a main sponsor. We also have the North Coast Times, Pit Bull and the Cool Group of Companies. Interest is growing and we expect a bumper crowd as things are going better than expected."

Entertainment package

The positive response, Dixon said, was due, in part, to the fact that the event was a massive success last year. The festival has also received the blessing of the St Ann Chamber of Commerce.

Dixon said the festival will again be geared towards families and that a top flight entertainment package will be in the offering. Meanwhile, the list of entertainers for the festival has grown to include Little Hero, Tinga Stewart and D'Angel. Also on the show are singer of the moment, Tarrus Riley, Jimmy Riley, George Nooks, Fantan Mojah, High Octane, Viper, Contractor, and Chukle Berry. Solid Rock and Mighty T sound systems will provide music.

The Ocho Rios Seafood Festival joins a growing list of food festivals held annually across Jamaica and focuses on fish, shrimp, lobster, crab, eel, scallops and octopus, foods which many Jamaicans find tantalising. There will be lots of attractions for kids, Dixon added.

Trunkfish and turbit at a recent seafood festival. - File

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