A longstanding sponsor of the Oistins Fish Festival is urging corporate Barbados to re-invest in the yearly Easter Weekend celebrations in the southern fishing district.
Group Marketing Manager for Banks Holdings Limited, Bernard Frost, believes the annual festival has blossomed into a paragon of cultural excellence, and as such, should be seen for its intrinsic value to the wider community.
Banks Beer is the official beer of the Oistins Fish Festival.
“For almost 50 years now, the Oistins Fish Festival has provided a platform for some of this country’s most outstanding acts of cultural expression,” he said.
Against a backdrop of decreasing sponsorship, Frost made the comments earlier this week as calls for the National Cultural Foundation to manage the event increased.
“It is very unfortunate that the current economic climate has not allowed for some businesses to support the festival this year, especially since the festival is run entirely by volunteers,” he said.
During last week’s media launch, deputy chairman Dr. Dan Carter said it would cost an estimated $150,000 to produce the annual festival.
“I think that the time has come when perhaps the NCF or some other agency equipped to manage a festival of that magnitude should come in and partner with the Oistins Fish Festival committee,” said Carter.
“We get a bit of funds from the Government but it has never gone up in the last 30 years. It has been very hard to keep this festival alive. That is the truth.”
Frost said that the current situation, though unfortunate, could be seen as an opportunity for both organisers and corporate entities.
“Despite the lack of sponsorship, the festival continues to be a high calibre event that attracts several thousand visitors to Oistins and its surrounding areas,” he said.
“Businesses should really be seeing this as an opportunity to not only market their brands to the public, but to also invest in both our heritage and future.”
This year’s LIME Oistins Fish Festival got underway last weekend with a church service at the Christ Church Parish Church.
A floodlit tattoo will be staged at the Christ Church Foundation School tomorrow night, while festivities swing into high-gear on Saturday with several actives planned in and around the Oistins area, including the official opening ceremony at the Oistins Boatyard at 4:30 p.m.
Weekend events include races in walking, running, bicycling, windsurfing and boating, competitions in fish boning and fish cooking, as well as in draughts, dominos, road tennis, card-playing and net-throwing.
There will also be art and craft exhibitions, as well as a wayside market with numerous stalls selling a variety of local food and drink, along with the traditional and highly popular “greasy poll” competition.