Island flocks to annual Agriculture Show

Local livestock, produce, culture and crafts were all featured prominently Wednesday at the 51st Annual Cayman Islands Agriculture Show, one of Cayman’s largest annual events.

Thousands of people poured into the Lower Valley Agricultural Grounds throughout Wednesday to see the dozens of exhibits.

The event also featured multiple competitions and demonstrations, including a beautiful baby contest, the Miss Agriculture Princess competition, and cook-off competitions.

By 11 a.m., judges had awarded the farmers with the best cattle and poultry. At the cattle display, farmer Carlos Forbes proudly displayed his first-prize winning 1,800-pound bull named “Jim.”

“They judge them on their condition, their cleanliness – they even check their teeth,” Mr. Forbes explained about the competition.

Nearby at the hatchery, Lloyd Ramoon had recently won prizes for a rooster and chicken he raised. While Mr. Ramoon was judged to have the most handsome hens, he said he only raises poultry as a hobby, and that he has a full-time job working at Jacques Scott.

Judges had not given awards to the produce farmers by press time, but East End farmer Deanna Look Loy said she was confident that she’d win again this year.

“This is my fifth time doing it, and I came second once and first four times,” she said, adding that she cares more about promoting local agriculture than winning prizes.

Though they were not competing for prizes, officials from Northward Prison were also selling produce grown by six inmates as a part of the Prison Service’s vocational training program. Austin Williams, the head of the program, said the inmates grew more than 300 pounds of tomatoes, as well as hundreds of pounds of plantains, bananas, scallions, bell peppers, broccoli and other produce.

While farmers displayed their animals and produce at the northern end of the grounds, demonstrations were held at the arena, including some of Cayman’s law enforcement officers showing people how they use their K-9 dogs.

“Come on, young people, Nugget is a sweet, loving dog. Just come on out. Even Minister [Roy] McTaggart: Don’t be scared,” said emcee Woody DaCosta as Customs Department officer Anthony Echenique and his K-9 dog, Nugget, conducted a perimeter search around the arena.

At the opening ceremony which was held around 10:30 a.m., Premier Alden McLaughlin said that the minister responsible for agriculture – Juliana O’Connor-Connolly – was unable to attend because she was sick that morning and had to go to the hospital.

MLA Barbara Conolly spoke in her stead, saying that events like the Agriculture Show are vital for the future of the agriculture industry in Cayman.

The annual event typically draws thousands of people from all over the Cayman Islands, as well as visitors from off island.

U.K. resident Ellie Fairbairn said she and her family were here visiting relatives, and decided to go to the show for the first time. Her 3-year-old daughter Coralie particularly enjoyed looking at the piglets, she said.

By around 1 p.m., hundreds of people were still arriving at the grounds. A police officer directing vehicles said that traffic heading for the show was nearly at a standstill going through Bodden Town.