There seems to be a bit of excitement in the air as Wednesday approaches and not just because it’s a holiday and folks will get a day off in the middle of the week.
While Ash Wednesday officially kicks off the Easter season, it is also the day when the annual Agricultural Show is put on by the Agricultural Society.
We may have taken this annual event for granted in the past, but no longer.
Hurricane Ivan in September 2004 wreaked havoc throughout the island and while just about everyone felt the storm’s ravages, the farmers were especially hard hit.
Flooding seawater and salt-laden rains did away with much of the vegetation.
Many farmers lost livestock during the storm. Those who were fortunate enough to have their animals make it through were faced later with the daunting task of keeping those animals alive without fresh, green vegetation.
The Government stepped in and cut prices on animal feed, which was a great benefit.
But still, many animals had to be put down.
The depressing scenario led to a scaled down version of the Ag Show in 2005.
But this year the Agricultural Show is back in full swing.
Farmers will take their livestock, crafters will take their handmade goodies, cooks will pack along their canned goods and districts will compete for best display.
Production and participation in the annual show is just another testament to the spirit of the people of the Cayman Islands and their resolve to return to normalcy.
Everyone who has even the most remote interest in the Cayman Islands should attend this year’s show. It’s about more than just cows, pigs, goats and chickens.
Those who need new plants and trees to replenish what Ivan destroyed can buy them at the show.
The entertainment will be superb and there will even be loads of things for children to do while mom and dad take in all the offerings.
As is with any Agricultural Show, parking and traffic will be an issue – up to 8,000 people are expected to attend.
Those who plan to attend can help. Get together with your family or your neighbours and share a ride to the show.
People who plan to compete at the Ag Show need to know that a new rule is in place concerning when to enter your goods.
The Society has changed the times of entries to tomorrow evening with a specific cut off date so the process doesn’t continue into the wee hours of the morning.
There’s another change in the show rules this year. Prize winners won’t be taking their winnings home on the day of the show.
Instead, they’ll be able to collect them the following week.
That’s a smart decision on the part of the Society.
It should help cut down on the maddening confusion that sometimes occurs when prizes are given out the day of the show. Too, lots of cash prizes will be given. It’s safer if that money is kept off site.
For those who take pleasure in the annual Ag Show, enjoy.
For those who have never been, get into a car pool and go. You’ll have the time of your life.
Much of the big island of Grand Cayman has been restored from the storm, but many people are still without a normal sense of life because of displacement or total loss of home, material objects or jobs.
The Agricultural Show is another way we can all pull together as one and enjoy the fruits of our neighbours.