Vendors lining the road, soon-to-be consumers leisurely strolling down the street and the smell of mouth-watering food filled the air at the start of the annual Oistins Fish Festival.
The LIME Oistins Fish Festival, some vendors said seemed to be dying bit by bit as the number of patrons from previous years continued to decline. March 31 was the first day of the festival which saw many locals and visitors venturing out to sample the fare over Easter weekend.
Two events which drew large crowds was the Yamaha boat racing competition and the Banks greasy pole. The former was held in the early evening with a line of excited onlookers on the Oistins Jetty.
The five boats which participated were given free gas and the winner, Boston Whaler sped pass the rest of the field to win the $1,500 grand prize. Dolphin and Online were second and third respectively, and were awarded $1,000 for second place and $500 for third.
The Banks Greasy Pole competition which was scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m. had a late start. However, as it got going the team consisting of those from the neighbouring Scarborough area pulled together as one to reach the $500 at the top of the greased metallic pole.
Some of the other events on the agenda were the conch shell competition, the net throwing competition and the swimming races.
On the other hand those who did not attend these events had time to support the potpourri of vendors who came out. There was certainly variety in the offerings, from Jeff Riley with his leather shoes, to Richard Forde, who sold oriental fish for medicinal purposes.
Forde, the owner of the pet fish business called Tropical Fish Waters explained, “The fish are to help persons under therapy; persons who have hypertension, the fish can help them to relax and this is just by them watching the behaviour of those fish.”
Most vendors who spoke to Barbados TODAY said that sales this year were slow. Riley, said when compared to sales last year things were very slow this time around.
Larry Belgrave from Masters Touch Incorporated, which is a fine arts business, also alluded to the fact the business this year seemed slower than usual. He said, “We are now coming to the end of the tourist season so sales are going down and as compared to the Holetown Festival we are not really seeing the tourists walking through.”
Fine artist David Alleyne who incorporated plants into his art also agreed that things this year were sluggish. The artist said that this was his fifth year at the festival.
“There must be something that you can do that would actually raise the level but I think it has a lot to do with that I am on a plateau in terms of my growth and I need to push beyond that point.” Alleyne voiced.
The most sales for the professional artist came on the first day of the festival which for him was the most active day, though he observed that large crowds did not necessarily translate into sales. (MR)