Coconut Festival dubbed as economic boost for Pelican Point

Residents and visitor turn out in large numbers to support Coconut Fest.

Hundreds of tourists and residents droves miles to East Grand Bahama to enjoy the coconut themed activities at the 19th Annual Pelican Point Coconut Festival, Easter Monday (April 17) in Pelican Point. 

 

Attendees spoke to this daily about their experience at the festival.

 

Sarah Gibbs a resident of the island stated that the festival was a positive activity for the holiday.

 

“The festival experience on this Easter Monday holiday is wonderful, because there is not a lot of things to do in Freeport,” she said. 

 

She added that it was a great way to bring money back into the local economy by allowing vendors to sell their products.  

 

“It also gives residents and visitors, alike, a chance to have some fun and support local businesses that might have been affected by the hurricane,” she said. 

 

Tyrone Wildgoose, another resident said that he enjoyed being around other Bahamians and enjoying native foods and everything made with coconut. 

 

“We’re having a really good time, being able to enjoy the fellowship of other Bahamians and also with the visitors that are here,” he noted. 

 

Wildgoose added that he looks forward to the festival every year, because it allows him to enjoy the Bahamian culture, which he considers the best culture in the world. 

 

Wanda Ramos, a tourist, told this daily that her favorite part about the festival is listening to the Bahamians music.  

 

Ramos revealed that this was her first visit to Grand Bahama and she would like to return in the near future. 

 

Jorge Roque, another first time visitor to the island said that he loved the coconut themed food and drinks, particularly the native gully wash. 

 

“I had coconut shrimp and that was really good, it was made fresh too,” he added. 

 

Pelican Point Coconut Festival Founder and Chairman, Cathy Laing, revealed that the festival has always exceeded expectations regarding the community’s response and participation.

 

“It’s now a signature event for Grand Bahama,” she said.

 

Laing noted that various coconut flavored dishes, including coconut tarts and crack conch with coconut flavor were on sale.  

 

Noting that while many of the vendors were Pelican Point natives, Laing said, vendors from the neighboring community of McLean’s Town was also welcomed to come and set up their booths for the festival.

 

The event also featured activities such as coconut barking and pie eating contests, as well as entertainment provided by musical acts like the Grand Bahama Police Pop Band, the St. Georges’ High School Band and Stileet. 

 

Laing revealed that the team has already begun planning for next year’s festival and hope to have additional parking along with a coconut themes float.

 

Laing thanked the people who supported the festival, especially all of the sponsors, including Turnquest, BTC, PharmaChem Technologies, Local Government of East Grand Bahama and the Ministry for Grand Bahama and the Ministry of Tourism.

 

K. Peter Turnquest, Member of Parliament for East Grand Bahama and Deputy Leader of the Free National Movement (FNM) expressed his appreciation for the event.  

 

Turnquest noted that it was important to recognize Bahamian traditions and culture, and pledged to do his best to help in expanding the festival site on a nearby property, specifically for additional parking in the future. 

 

“Let me assure you that as your Member of Parliament and hopefully, your next Member of Parliament that I will ensure that we get that piece of property cleared and titled so that we can have appropriate property for this festival,” he said. 

 

Elaine Smith, Coordinator for Product Development, Ministry of Tourism welcomed all attendees and encouraged them to enjoy everything the festival had to offer.  

 

She expressed how special the event was to the island and its people.

 

“It is always a pleasure to travel to Pelican Point, East Grand Bahama this time of year to celebrate this special event, as it shows the diversity of the destination of Grand Bahama Island,” she said. 

 

Smith noted that the festival exemplified the multiple island vacation experience that exists in The Bahamas and displays the “uniqueness” of Grand Bahama.  

 

She congratulated the Coconut Festival Committee and the MOT’s team, who worked along with the committee in coordinating the event. 

 

Published  Tuesday, April 18, 2017 

 

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