After admiring the displays and congratulating the Brac community for its support of the Sister Islands Agriculture Show on Saturday, Agriculture Minister Kurt Tibbetts identified a conundrum for the future of the annual event.
‘I hope it continues to grow, but never loses the intimate and friendly atmosphere we’re enjoying,’ he said during his address at the opening ceremony.
About 2,000 people attended, said show deputy chairman Annie Rose Scott. She based the figure on the number of wrist bands issued, not the number of tickets sold, since people hoping to win a gate prize could buy as many tickets as they wished. Last year’s attendance was around 1,600, she said.
The pleasant atmosphere at the Agricultural Grounds was enhanced by attractive surroundings. Mr. Tibbetts illustrated this point by calling forward Mr. Telford Miller, lead agricultural officer in Cayman Brac for the past five years. Mr. Tibbetts revealed that it was Mr. Miller’s birthday. Two police officers good-naturedly escorted Mr. Miller to the stage and the audience and dignitaries sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to him.
Mr. Miller was at the forefront in the development of the Agricultural Grounds off Songbird Drive, saving trees to provide an attractive and cool canopy for participants. This year’s show, which chairman Mark Tibbetts referred to as the sixth annual, was the second held at the site.
All speakers praised the teamwork that had gone into making the day a success.
District Commissioner Ernie Scott said the Sister Islands have a lot to offer. He thanked visitors from Grand Cayman and further shores, urging them to return.
MLA Julianna O’Connor-Connolly encouraged people to put politics and religion to one side and reach out to touch the heart, soul and mind of each one present. She noted that agriculture has always been a part of the islands’ economy and culture. Miss Julianna congratulated young people involved in the day’s activities.
Those young people included members of the Cadet Corps, Miss Teen Cayman Brac Samantha Scott, singer April Tibbetts and many helping at stalls and exhibitions.
MLA Moses Kirkconnell paid tribute to all who had worked so hard to make the show a reality. Speaking directly to show chairman Mark Tibbetts and the organising committee, he said: ‘Every year we wonder how you’re going to make it better and every year you succeed.’
Newly appointed Director of Agriculture Adrian Estwick said the exhibitors and patrons made the show a quality event. He pledged continued support to farmers, backyard growers and homeowners in the Sister Islands. Adding birthday wishes for Mr. Miller, he told him: ‘You must be proud of what you see here today.’
The ceremonial moment came when the Governor, Mr. Stuart Jack, was invited to draw a root of cassava from a decorated tub.
As entertainment continued through the day, Mr. Jack participated by agreeing to be part of a human chain leapt over by the Jessie White Tumblers.
Although one demonstration did not go ahead as planned and one activity was moved up on the agenda, at 4.35pm master of ceremonies Mark Tibbetts could take pride in saying the programme was five minutes behind schedule.
Adding to the day’s enjoyment were the performances by the Cayman Brac Country Band, C. Level Band and Los Tropicanos.
The presentation of trophies and then the drawing for gate prizes continued the friendly atmosphere of the day, with all winners warmly applauded.
The audience broke into laughter when Mr. Paul Scott was announced as the winner of three cubic yards of sand: Mr. Scott had donated the prize. He was quickly contacted by phone and asked if he would like someone else’s name to be drawn. He agreed.
Major trophies were awarded to Mercito Chantilope, champion crop farmer; Dwayne McFarlane, champion cattle farmer; Sharon Connolly, champion pig farmer and Theresa Mena, champion rabbit farmer.
The Minister’s Award for Innovation went to Dwayne McFarlane, while the Agricultural Spirit award went to Sharon Connolly.
First place for arts and crafts went to Coleen Gibson, who received the trophy for Agricultural Queen. Agricultural King was Francisco Mena, with Aaron Morin and Lauryn McFarlane as prince and princess. Creek Primary won the first place school trophy.
The Sister Islands Sixth Annual Agriculture Show was scheduled as a two-day event, with a worship service and gospel concert set for Sunday.
Along with Mr. Tibbetts and Mrs. Scott, the show committee comprised Darlene Robinson, Pauline Tibbetts, Valden Scott, Janet Gates, Teddy Ritch, Marcia Rankin, Melvin McFarlane, Telford Miller and Ventisha Connolly.