Crowds flock to Ag Show

Wednesday’s Agricultural Show has been hailed a big success, with indications that an expanded program may have helped attract a near record crowd to the Stacy Watler Agricultural Pavilion.

Crowds at the grounds began building from 7am. By 1pm queues of cars waiting for entry snaked back as far as Savannah.

Official figures are yet to be released, but Minister responsible for agriculture Kurt Tibbetts said he thinks the crowd eclipsed last year’s attendance of nearly 10,000.

‘The show was a wonderful success,’ he said.

Despite the traffic congestion, organisers think the reformatted program and show site were a hit with visitors.

‘The show is bigger this year; there is more to do. We are getting very good feedback from visitors,’ said Brian Crichlow, marketing coordinator with the Department of Agriculture.

Horse riding displays, breathtaking acrobatics from the Jesse White Tumblers from Chicago, Illinois, and a closing gospel concert and fireworks display were some of the new additions to the program.

Crowds were also entertained by local musicians including Gone Country and Impulse.

By mid-afternoon the show had taken on an almost carnival feel as the booming rhythms of the Pan-Demonium Steel Jamm band rung out across the show site.

Earlier in the day, the Cayman Islands Agricultural Society recognised some of its leading farmers for excellence in their field.

North Side farmers William and Zelmalee Ebanks took out the Minister’s Award for the Most Outstanding Farmers of the year. Kent Rankine was recognised at the top livestock farmer of the year while Mr. Ebanks was judged best crop farmer of the year.

Mr. Crichlow said the show is a red-letter day for Cayman’s farmers.

‘Farming isn’t a huge sector like tourism or banking, but the farmers in Cayman work very hard; they are very dedicated to their craft,’ he said.

‘They don’t produce huge quantities but it is very high quality.’

With consumers increasingly looking for locally grown, fresh produce, Mr. Tibbetts said it is an exciting time for farmers in Cayman.

He also highlighted the important cultural significance of the day, praising the quality of art and craft work on display.

New plans unveiled

Mr. Tibbetts said a new agri-tourism development at the Stacy Watler Agricultural Pavilion, unveiled at a Business After Hours Event Tuesday night, will give local farmers a boost.

They will also benefit from the establishment this year of a new Agriculture Secretariat, Mr. Tibbetts explained.

The new body will include a full-time administrator responsible for overseeing and coordinating a range of agricultural activities, including the organisation of the Agricultural Show.

‘It will ensure there is continual dialogue and proper organisation between the various stakeholders involved in organising the show and other agricultural events,’ he said.

The new facilities, coupled with the establishment of the Agriculture Secretariat, will lead to more agriculture related events in Cayman going forward, Mr. Tibbetts said.

This year’s Agriculture Show is part of a larger week of agricultural activities that has included the Business After Hours event, educational seminars for farmers and, this weekend, a two-day Sister Islands Agricultural Show that will be held on Cayman Brac’s Bluff.

Those travelling to the Brac for the show will not be disappointed, said Mr. Crichlow.

‘It will be the second year we have held it up on the bluff. We’ve expanded the grounds up there further. People can expect an even bigger, better show this year. It was a huge success last year and I see it going from strength to strength.’

Agricultural Society Awards:

  • Minister’s award for most outstanding farmers of the year: William and Zelmalee Ebanks
  • Livestock farmer of the year, Grand Cayman: Kent Rankine
  • Crop farmer of the year, Grand Cayman: William Ebanks
  • Most improved livestock farmer, Grand Cayman: Errol Watler
  • Champion exhibitor, Livestock farmer: George and Miguel Smith
  • Livestock exhibitors, 2nd place: Clifford Powery
  • Livestock exhibitors, 3rd place: Earnest McFarlane
  • Youngest farmer on show: Azan Sherrief
  • Grand champion bull: George and Miguel Smith
  • Grand Champion cow: Paul Rivers
  • Champion bull calf under 12 months: Clifford Powery
  • Champion heifer calf under 12 months: George and Miguel Smith
  • Grand champion buck (goats): Earnest McFarlane
  • Grand champion doe (goats): Marcel Archer
  • Best doe with kids: Marcel Archer
  • Grand champion poultry, cock: Serita Ebanks
  • Champion exhibitor, cattle: George and Miguel Smith
  • Champion exhibitor, goats: Earnest McFarlane
  • Champion exhibitor, pigs: Clifford Powery
  • Champion exhibitor, poultry: Lloyd Ramoon
  • District stalls, first place: East End
  • District stalls, second place: Bodden Town
  • District stalls, third place: North Side
  • Primary schools grow box competition, first place: Savannah
  • Primary schools grow box competition, second place: North Side
  • Primary schools grow box competition, third place: Lighthouse
  • High schools grow box competition, first place: George Hicks
  • High schools grow box competition, second place: Cayman Brac
  • High schools grow box competition, third place: Alternative Education Centre
  • Grand champion stallion: Paul Rivers
  • Grand champion mare: Patrick Barnes