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North Leeward Breadfruit Festival shows innovation

North Leeward Breadfruit Festival shows innovation

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An NLTA Well-Wisher

On Saturday, August 21st, it rained, so that many who had planned to attend the North Leeward Breadfruit Festival were hampered. And that was very unfortunate for them, because the quality of the event was unparalleled, especially in view of its pioneering effort.{{more}}
There was a range of culinary delights that would have impressed the most professional of chefs. Naturally, breadfruit dishes included bull-jowl, jack fish, breadfruit pudding, breadfruit salad and breadfruit pie. But in addition, there were innovative concoctions such as the smooth, palate-enticing blend of breadfruit punch, a milky, slightly alcoholic beverage resembling punch-de-crème that was not only delectable, but also affordable.
At the Community Centre, as part of the festival, the North Leeward Tourism Association housed a remarkable display of the breadfruit, its leaves, and other products of the breadfruit family such as the breadnut.
Breadfruit foliage decorated the room and interesting educational information about breadfruit history and its plant biology was posted in large print on portable blackboards. Books on herbal remedies and holistic health were a part of the forum. The nutritional value of the breadfruit, as well as the medical value of local bush cures like the seed-under-leaf and St. John’s Wort, ginseng root and sarsaparilla, buddy-me-eye and guinea pepper were outlined, and the actual herbs neatly displayed and labeled in Ziploc clear plastic bags with their unique properties stated on the labels.
It was really at this point that my appreciation of the venture became genuine. The time invested and the substantial attempt at a quality culture fest was evidenced and legitimized by this exhibition. This was no poor excuse for a blocko; this was an authentic cultural event. And in spite of the rain, the attendance was better than moderate, better than fair. The attendance was actually good.
The diversity of the festival, already noted in the presentation of local remedies, was further highlighted by a tent booth precisely at Mission Corner. Here, residents and visitors could have their blood pressure checked at no cost; they could also check and monitor blood sugar in case of diabetes, and peruse a range of HIV information on leaflets and pamphlets promoting first abstinence then safe sex as preventative measures against the disease.
Half a block away, in front the Chateaubelair Fishery Building, one was entertained by steel drum music, compliments of Rose Bank Bom Drum musicians.
This earmarked the pre-launch of the Chateaubelair Fisher Folk Cooperative as a wonderful incorporation into the breadfruit festival. The pan men were skilled and energetic so that their performance was compelling. Here, the menu included breadfruit, but also diverged to include callaloo, BBQ fish, chicken and pork, with an array of local juices and fruit punches that called a person back for more.
And outside the steel band, closer to Mission Corner, DJ music by Pan Yard Int’l offered contemporary, calypso and soca intervals that caused even the most reluctant and tired of feet to beat in rhythm, waist and hips creating a motion that tantalized onlookers to join the fun with cultural abandon.
I was unable to attend the Park Hill festival and offer commentary; however, the North Leeward Breadfruit festival represented a time well spent and enjoyed by all, and so it is with eager anticipation I look forward to next year’s function.

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