The first-ever Union Island Conch Festival will be hosted by the Union Island Tourist Board from Feb. 28 to March 1on the southern Grenadine island.
The conch festival is a celebration of the conch industry on Union Island, which has played a vital role in the economy of the island and St Vincent and the Grenadines.
Today, even more than ever, persons on Union Island are earning a good living from conch and some local restaurants have made it part of the island’s cuisine.
Persons have used conch shells in very creative ways, including blowing the shell to alert residents whenever there is fresh fish and other meats available for sale.
Janti Ramage, a resident of Union Island, built an entire island from discarded conch shells.
His world-famous Happy Island attracts numerous visitors.
The Union Island Conch Festival is expected see restaurants and cooks serving up a variety of sumptuous conch dishes in every imaginable form such as conch water, stew, salads, fritters, curry, pelau, grilled, grilled, chowder, and pasta.
Local chefs will also compete in several conch dish categories, cash prizes and trophies will be awarded for the best conch dishes in these categories.
The festival will also feature art and craft, cultural performances and several other competitions such as conch chopping and conch shell blowing and other activities for patrons to be engaged in.
There will also be educational booths to bring awareness on the conch and the conch industry and its sustainability, persons will be educated on the legal size for harvesting conch and the role it plays in our ecosystem. Other seafood such as lobster and fish will also be on sale at the festival.
The Union Island Tourism Board saw it fit to introduce this event primarily for persons to appreciate the conch industry and the role it plays in tourism through our local cuisine, and events. Hopefully we would be able encourage restaurants and cooks to expand their menu of conch related dishes into new creative ways.
The event will create an economic stimulus for the island as we continue to expand the list of activities on the Island for both residents and tourists and will be an ideal way for visitors to get a sense of our history, culture and diverse tourism offering.
The conch festival is part of the larger plan by the tourist board to promote Union Island more than ever before, as a destination where you can choose to come for unique events or simply relax on the white sand beaches and engage in several activities for the weekend.
The festival is a build up towards the Union Island Easterval week of events, from April 5 to 13 and on May 15. Persons are invited to experience a unique culture, the Island Maroon with big drum dancing, traditional food and much more.
“It is envisioned that the festival could eventually become an international culinary attraction for St. Vincent and the Grenadines and contribute to culinary tourism which is a major focal point for community based tourism as we try to grow both international and domestic tourism numbers.
“We are inviting cooperate partners to come onboard to take advantage of the numerous advertising and branding opportunities available at the Conch Festival 2020,” a press release said.