BVI News

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Big turnout: Lobster Fest ‘exceed expectations’

‘Exceeding expectations’ and ‘Impressive’ are some words used to describe this year’s staging of the annual Anegada Lobster Festival, Cat 5 edition, which took place on Saturday and Sunday.

“From the Tourist Board’s standpoint, we would have been happy to have minimal counts as in 200 to 300 people each day just to signal the return. But what we saw yesterday (Saturday); we looked at the count that was about 450-500 and that’s not counting persons who came to Anegada on Friday. And today (Sunday), I think it is in excess of 700,” Director of Tourism Sharon Flax-Brutus said.

She said those figures exclude persons who came on the barges, private boats, and aircrafts; adding that all hotels were booked.

“For us, that’s exceeding expectations.”

The tourism director said the large turnout signalled hope for the rest of the hurricane-battered territory.

“We are down but not out and it also gives BVIslanders a boost, because to see Anegada today is to see hope for the rest of the destination and knowing that yes we had a crisis but we are recovering. And this is one of the first big steps to recovery.”

Flax-Brutus (right) and Lobster Fest attendee smiles for the camera.

Flax-Brutus said outer islands and cays can now be better featured as part of BVI tourism while badly-affected islands recover.

“Some islands suffered more damage than others but it is also an opportunity for the islands that were not as hard hit to be able to come up,” she remarked.

In the meantime, widow of the late Aubrey Levons of Big Bamboo Restaurant and Bar-Dianne Levons also said she was impressed by the numbers who came out to support the annual two-day culinary event.

“Today was very impressive! I never saw so many people in a long time. Today was a great day… They supported us overwhelmingly,” she noted with a big smile.

Levons

Lobster ran out

However, lobster lovers were let down when they were told that the delicacy had run out and they had to choose between fish and chicken.

Levons explained: “We had lobsters… but they ran out. We sent out three fishermen and they brought in and that ran out too.”

The Big Bamboo was one of the major participating restaurants in the event. They had live entertainment by the Secret Band who gave patrons their monies worth despite the smouldering heat.

Transportation troubles

Despite the jolly time on the island, some patrons felt that the transportation issues needed to be properly addressed for next year’s staging.

Persons said they had to wait too long to get a taxi to go to the respective destinations. They said taxi woes prevented them from getting to some of the participating venues.

Persons also complained about the ferry service after it took nearly two hours for persons to board after the event.

“The problem is the dock. If they had the barricades like they do in [Road] Town it would be better. I think persons feared being left behind like what happened this morning,” one female customer said.

On Sunday, more than 100 persons were left behind at the ferry dock in Road Town, and alternative arrangements had to be made for them because the ferry had reached its limit.

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