ORGANISERS of the Ocho Rios Seafood festival are confident this year's staging will be the biggest event for the summer. It is scheduled for Sunday, August 5, at the Urban Development Corporation's (UDC) Turtle River Park in Ocho Rios, St Ann.
"We are one of the designated Jamaica 50 events," said promoter Garwin Davis. "Our goal this year is to cement our claim as the biggest culinary and family-oriented event in the country. This will be the grand gala of the North Coast — Ocho Rios's contribution to the Jamaica 50 celebrations."
Jamaica Tourist Board, Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC), Downsound Records, Tropical Vibes Seafood Restaurant, IRIE FM, the St Ann Chamber of Commerce, Liquid Nitro, as well as Square One Supermarket are on board with sponsorship or have endorsement rights of the event.
Davis said the aim has always been to create a first-rate product and a signature event for the resort town of Ocho Rios, noting that several of the local hotels have been getting forward bookings from persons overseas wanting to be at the event.
He said organisers are confident that, barring the unforeseen, the festival will again be well supported and could exceed the 15,000 that turned out in 2007.
"The festival will be held on the Independence weekend — on a day when Ocho Rios should be overflowing with visitors," Davis said. "Traditionally, this is how it has always been on a holiday weekend."
The festival will be a day-night affair and will have a family-oriented theme throughout. There will be an area for children with swings, rides and bounce-about, while the rest of the park will be decorated with food stalls and display booths.
He noted that despite the numerous challenges over the years, the Ocho Rios Seafood Festival has managed to "stay afloat" and is again ready to reclaim its mantra as one of the summer's blockbuster events.
Among the artistes scheduled are Tommy Lee, Khago, Jimmy Riley, Dadda, Hero, PZ, Junior Cat, Contractor, Nature, Specialist, Foota Hype, Droop Lion, Terry Linen, Tinga Stewart, and Ernest Wilson.