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Conch Festival draws big, hungry crowd

Conch Festival draws big, hungry crowd

Another year, another tasty success! The 8th Annual Turks and Caicos Conch Festival was a culinary and cultural winner, with thousands turning out for the event which paid tribute to the local icon, the conch.

Chefs from 12 local restaurants participated in the marquee “conch-e-tition,” where the conch masters at Hemingway’s at the Sands Resort ended Bay Bistro’s two year winning streak, taking home the title of Best in Show.

In the highly anticipated mojito-making contest, top honors went to the Junior Brown of Bay Bistro.

The competition was tastefully tight, judged by an impressive panel of international and local judges, including Debra Anderson, a Chicago travel and hospitality media consultant; Deandrea Hamilton, local television personality; John Kendall, a Houston conch enthusiast and part time resident; Phillip Legagneur, former participant and chef at IGA Gourmet; Sean Long, a Chicago television producer; Doug Parnell, local businessman; and Melanie Reffes, a Montreal travel journalist.

Director of Culture David Bowen keep the party going as he emceed the day’s activities, which included a variety of kids’ games, an adult tug-o-war, and the always entertaining conch blowing and conch knocking contests. There was also an informative Culture Quiz that had everyone putting their local knowledge to the test.

Local musicians also helped to create a fun and friendly atmosphere, including Tempest Marching Band, Lee Forbes and the Force, and the Grand Turk Salt Pond RipSaw band. And of course, jolly ol’ Saint Nick, Santa Claus himself, delighted the kids and adults alike with his annual cameo at the beachside festivities.

Restaurants competing this year included Opus, Hemingway’s, Anacaona, Jojo’s Café, Raymond Mompremier, Danny Buoy’s, Parallel 23, Refresh, Bay Bistro, Salt Mills Café, Native Cuisine and Seaside Café.

Major sponsors for this year’s festival included Islandcom, James Kennedy, CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank, Royal Bank of Canada, Wine Cellar, Amanyara, Power 92.5FM and KISS FM, the Turks and Caicos Tourist Board, Carib Gaming, Scotiabank, Ward Construction, Tropical Shipping, Villa del Mar, Grace Bay Resorts, Grace Bay Suites, Fortis, Digicel, Island Rhythms Tours, LIME, the Royal Turks and Caicos Police Force, Turks and Caicos Road Traffic Dept., Turks and Caicos Fire Department EMS unit, the Security Centre, Sky Juice, the Rotary Club and Crazy George “Santa” with a host of other companies and individuals lending their support.

The bigger and better 2012 Conch Festival will be held on Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012, with a host of other activities planned for each weekend during the whole month of November.

The winning restaurants in each category were:

Conch Salad:
1st Place: Refresh (InterHealth Canada)

Conch Chowder:
1st Place: Parallel 23 (Regent Palms Resort)

Specialty Dish:
1st Place: Bay Bistro (Sibonne’ Beach Hotel)

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By: Concha Woncha 

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