Coco Fest celebrates Caribbean’s favourite ‘nut’

The must-attend event for those who are cuckoo about coconuts

Eleina Ebanks and Matthew Mclaughlin of The Wreck View Art Gallery display their wares. - Photo: Taneos Ramsay

People have written songs about them; books have been penned lauding their properties; and documentaries have been produced in order to throw a well-deserved spotlight on the noble coconut.

Those green football-shaped drupes that drop to the ground and turn brown have been a staple of the island diet for many years. They produce both food and drink, as well as the means to create oil and candles. Coconut shells can be used as containers, the leaves can be thatched and used for shelter, and the husk is a natural scrubber and craft material. You might call the coconut one of nature’s most perfect creations.

Caymanians have been well aware of the coconut’s bounty for decades. Whether you are visiting a local craft market or restaurant, chances are good that some product derived from the coconut will be on the menu.

On 8 Feb., fans of this particular palm can head to Pedro St. James on Pedro Castle Road, Savannah, for the fifth annual Coco Fest, running from noon-6pm. The event brings together local cooks, artisans, producers, and farmers through a shared love for the coconut, in a fun and interactive environment.

Vendors will be offering up a mess o’ coconut-based goodies, from ceviche and tarts to candies, bottles of coconut oil, skin products and, of course, coconut water.

Whilst supping upon local delights, attendees will be entertained by music from DJ Natural, Eden Hurlston and the Cool Breeze Boys, Miss Izzy’s singalong for kids, steel pan and guitar, and a dance performance by the North Side Junior Quadrille Dancers.

To top it all off, the event will be hosted by none other than Quincy Brown – entertainer, comedian and local celebrity.

Part proceeds from the entry fees will be donated to Meals on Wheels, and this year there will also be a drink special on the Coco-Hito, made with Grace coconut water and Cayman Spirits Company’s 1780 rum. It will be on sale for $5, with $2 going to the charity.

One of the highlights of Coco Fest is the BOB 94.9 FM Coconut Cake Competition. Last year, Monique Burton won first place with her coconut cherry cheesecake delight, followed by Angelique Smith in second place and Carol Braggs taking third.

Who will walk away victorious this year? You’ll have to be there to find out. Judging starts at 1pm and the winner will be revealed at 1:30pm on the main stage.

Beyond the music, food and drink, there will be activities for all ages. Children are always big fans of the Xtreme Bungee Trampoline, balloon animals, face painting and bouncy castles, while adults can browse the art and crafts market, try their hand at coconut bowling or the coconut shy, learn how to make a coconut sailboat or weave a coconut hat.
Should you wish to take a break from the sunny outdoors, you can watch ‘The Bright Spot’, a locally-made documentary with the coconut as the star. Showings start at 12:30pm and run every half-hour in the Pedro St. James’ movie theatre.

Coco Fest provides an avenue for local micro-businesses to showcase their coconut-inspired products to the community while allowing guests to indulge in an array of creative, cottage industry items which often cannot be purchased in stores.

Cultural demonstrations on the uses of coconut throughout Cayman’s history will be held on-site by local artisans.

| Admission is only $5 per person while children under six are free, with $1 from each entry fee benefitting Meals on Wheels Cayman. For information on the event email
[email protected] or call 947-3329.

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