Fun times at Coco Fest

Shilpa Tagalpallewar gives Tyrece Whittaker a tattoo.

The humble coconut had its star turn last weekend, garnering a massive amount of attention at Coco Fest.

More than 900 visitors attended the event at Pedro Castle on Feb. 20.

Hosted by the Cayman Tourism Attraction Board and Pedro St. James, the festival was aimed at supporting a growing local coconut industry; giving local vendors the opportunity to showcase their products and remembering a time when the coconut was very important to Cayman.

Tourism Attraction Board CEO Gilbert Connolly was impressed with the turnout.
“The response to Coco Fest was greater than what we had projected and it is evident that this is something that the community will support again in the future,” he said.

Mr. Connolly thanked marketing coordinator Shayma Hamdi and the community for their support in making the cultural event a success.

Vendors and visitors were pleased with the outcome.

“Overall it was a very nice day,” said Pedro Watler, public relations officer for the Bodden Town Cultural Committee. Mr. Watler was impressed with the variety of coconut products on display, remarking that long before he reached the venue, he could smell fish and fritters cooked in coconut oil, just like in the old days.

Pamela Thompson-Champoux, owner of coconut oil-based beauty product, Couxcoux Oil, said it was a wonderful event.

“I was thrilled to be invited and it turned out much better than any hopes I had,” she said.
Susy McField’s salt beef coconut rundown was the first to run out, followed by Grand Old House’s coconut fish curry. Pedro Castle went nutty selling more than 400 fresh coconuts.

Desserts Divas Stacy Bounds, Karie Bounds and Jennifer Martinez. – Photos Jewel Levy
Desserts Divas Stacy Bounds, Karie Bounds and Jennifer Martinez. – Photos Jewel Levy

There were 22 participating vendors in total, all showcasing their coconut products, as well as local music artists Little Magic, Altered Minds and members from the Cayman Music Collective.

“We want to thank all of our wonderful vendors and sponsors for making Coco Fest such a great day,” said Debbie Bodden, operations manager at Pedro St. James.

“It warmed our hearts to see Pedro so full of life, and to see all the local talent that we have here in Cayman.

“It was a great surprise to see how many uses the coconut tree has.”

Tamer Soliman and Rob Tyler, makers of the documentary “Bright Spot,” which sheds light on the history and use of coconuts in the Cayman Islands, were on hand as well.

Lashawn Davis Barnett and Breanna sample coconut marshmallow as Power Monkey sellers Linda Kellman and Mark Ray give their approval.
Lashawn Davis Barnett and Breanna sample coconut marshmallow as Power Monkey sellers Linda Kellman and Mark Ray give their approval.

“We had a great turnout for the showing of our documentary ‘Bright Spot,’ and ran six shows back to back. The response to the documentary in support of the coconut industry in Cayman was fantastic, and we want to thank everyone for coming out to show their support.”

Among the crowd were visitors to the Visual Arts Society’s Annual Art Show, tour groups, and supporting members of the Ministry of Health and Culture. The kids enjoying the activity areas also had lots of fun.

For more information on the vendors who participated in Coco Fest or to sign up for next year’s event, contact [email protected]

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