CLARENDON, Jamaica – The three-day Denbigh Agricultural, Industrial and Food Show got off to a great start on Saturday and is already showing signs of a major comeback after a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19.
The event, taking place in May Pen, Clarendon, has been hailed as the ‘bounce back’ Denbigh by Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Pearnel Charles Jr.
From first encounter, it was evident that the organisers had pulled out all the stops to make the event flow seamlessly and ensure the safety of patrons.
Ample security personnel were on site to direct guests to parking areas and ticket booths, and inside the venue, several sanitisation stations have been erected, with masks required for entry into some sections of the event.
Patrons were out in their numbers visiting booths, viewing displays, making purchases and participating in various activities and challenges against the back drop of the warm sunshine.
Despite the COVID-19 protocols, the event had all the fun and excitement of previous years and shows why it has been a staple on the agriculture sector’s calendar for 68 years.
President of the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS), Lenworth Fulton, said that the event showcases “the true atmosphere, love and warmth of our Jamaican farmers and their commitment to food security.”
Acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), Winston Simpson, added that this year’s execution “is indeed a good look”, especially coming out of the pandemic.
“Even when we had good days going, it didn't look so well on the first day,” he pointed out.
Patron, Patricia Felix-Bailey, 66, who first attended Denbigh 50 years ago as a teenager, said the event is now “more organised” than what she remembers in the past.
A dedicated fan of Denbigh, she told JIS News that “there are more persons (exhibitors) participating now than back then; even banks are here to set up accounts. I think more people would want to come to Denbigh now because you can do business here.”
First-timer, Adrian Gordon, said he was impressed by the variety of activities for the entire family, including children.
“It has a feeling of grand-market with many different, exciting things happening at once so we were never bored,” he shared.
Also in attendance on day one of the show were State Minister in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Frank Witter; Minister of Planning, Agriculture, Housing and Infrastructure in the Cayman Islands, Jay Ebanks; United States Ambassador to Jamaica, Nick Perry; and Opposition Spokesman on Agriculture, Lothian Cousins.
‘Denbigh 68’ is being held under the theme: ‘Grow Smart, Eat Smart’ and continues Sunday (July 31), with Governor General, Sir Patrick Allen visiting the grounds. A gospel extravaganza will take place at 6:00 pm.
On Emancipation Day, Monday (August 1), Prime Minister Andrew Holness is expected to be in attendance, and the three-day show will end with a Reggae Fest at 6:00 pm.