Breadfruit Festival enhanced by playing of traditional games
by Bria King
The blue sky had only just begun to peek out from behind the grey clouds. The sound of steel pan began to seep into the vehicle that I was in, claiming enough of my attention to make me look outside the window and wonder, “what was happening?”
It was Saturday, August 18 and persons were standing on either side of the road, while others were gathering at several small tents. And hanging among colourful banners was one that read “North Leeward Breadfruit Festival”.
“The breadfruit festival is presented by the North Leeward Breadfruit Committee and they’ve been doing this for a number of years,” Anthony Theobalds, the chief cultural officer said.
He explained that the festival takes place every year in August and persons come with various dishes that were made using breadfruit.
In addition to the usual roast and fried breadfruit, persons were selling breadfruit pie, pizza with dough made from breadfruit and breadfruit and saltfish balls.
“This year, they are getting some extra support from the Ministry of Tourism, Sports and Culture, in our effort to revive and make the next generation aware of the traditional games,” the chief cultural officer said. “So, we’ve done things like hoola hoops, like the game, moral, like hopscotch, like the go carts. We also had marbles under the almond tree closer to the beach and all of these provide for the youngsters to experience and learn about the traditional games and activities.”
Theobalds said that so much attention is being paid to handheld electronic games that some of the traditional games were not as common as they used to be.
Claris Turtin, one of the vendors at the festival, was selling roast breadfruit, blackfish, codfish and sweet potato pudding.
Turtin said that it was her first time at the festival but she felt that once persons supported it, “it can develop more and give a boost to the country.”
Max Toppin, a Vincentian who resides in the United Kingdom, said he heard about the festival from a friend.
“I was impressed,” he said. “The food was interesting because I’ve never had it before. It’s good that we can try producing stuff with local produce instead of importing.”
Toppin, who is on vacation with his family, made sure to buy something from every stall so that he could sample the different breadfruit dishes.
And he said that he would be interested in seeing the festival done on a larger scale.
“I think it would be a good thing because if the country starts presenting this type of cuisine, not just with breadfruit but other local produce instead of importing…it must benefit everyone,” he said.
Theobalds, chief cultural officer said that it was a weekend that should not be missed and he encouraged persons to pay attention to the calendar and advertisements so that they could support the event next year.