Sea food and eat it

Bay Roberts host­ing its first ever seafood fes­ti­val

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY NICHOLAS MERCER THE COM­PASS

The Town of Bay Roberts is set to kick off its in­au­gu­ral food fes­ti­val.

The Bay Roberts “Songs, Stages and Seafood Fes­ti­val” will take place May 31-June 2. Vot­ers se­lected the name out of 12 op­tions on the on­line blog, De­laney’s Rant. It won with over 40 per cent of the vote.

The town was cho­sen by the provin­cial govern­ment in Oc­to­ber to host the event.

Ron De­laney, the town’s di­rec­tor of eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment, said the fes­ti­val is a chance for the re­gion to show­case its lo­cal prod­uct and some of the high-level chefs that work along the Bac­calieu Trail.

There is no limit to the amount of lo­cal prod­uct to choose from.

“In Bay Roberts and the sur­round­ing area, there is a tremen­dous num­ber of species of fish still be­ing landed here and also pro­duced in the lo­cal area,” said De­laney.

Cur­rently, fish­er­men along the Con­cep­tion Bay and Trin­ity Bay shores are catch­ing snow crab. The re­gion also has a thriv­ing seal­ing in­dus­try and pro­duces some of the largest quo­tas of shrimp on the is­land. In Trin­ity Bay, a strong mus­cle in­dus­try can be found.

“We’re try­ing to pro­file the good, sus­tain­able seafood that we have hung our hat on for hun­dreds of year,” said De­laney.

Culi­nary ex­plo­sion

De­laney said there has also been an ex­plo­sion of in­ter­est on the culi­nary side of the equa­tion. A num­ber of new restau­rants have sprung up in St. John’s and in Bay Roberts.

“Peo­ple now spend time eat­ing out and ex­pe­ri­enc­ing food,” said De­laney. “This is where we feel we can merge th­ese two to­gether and pro­file the chefs of the re­gion.”

A dif­fi­cult part to pre­par­ing a provin­cial fes­ti­val like the one be­ing or­ga­nized in Bay Roberts will be find­ing a lo­ca­tion for the event.

It would make sense to find lo­ca­tions that are safe for pre­par­ing food and of­fer a strong vis­ual rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the sea.

“For all of our spon­sored events, we are try­ing to find fa­cil­i­ties that are close to the har- bour,” said De­laney.

Th­ese could in­clude the Royal Cana­dian Le­gion or Scrun­chions Restau­rant, both on Wa­ter Street. The 50-plus Club in Bay Roberts could also be a venue.

Shoul­der sea­son fes­ti­val

The provin­cial fes­ti­val is a byprod­uct of the town’s de­sire to de­velop an­other sea­sonal event. The fes­ti­val will fall in the so-called shoul­der sea­son, a term given to the spring and fall pe­ri­ods that flank the busy sum­mer sea­son.

The Songs, Stages and Seafood Fes­ti­val joins two other ma­jor provin­cial culi­nary fes­ti­vals that fall dur­ing the shoul­der sea­sons. Those are the Trails, Tails and Tunes Fes­ti­val at Nor­ris Point, and Routes, Rants and Roars, which oc­curs in Septem­ber in El­lis­ton.

De­laney thinks Bay Roberts was cho­sen be­cause of its strong vol­un­teer base, a solid spe­cial events com­mit­tee and the town’s rep­u­ta­tion for putting off provin­cial-level events. While the event is a pilot pro­ject, De­laney feels that it is some­thing that could con­tinue.

“It’s very ex­cit­ing for Bay Roberts and the re­gion,” he said.

nmercer@cb­n­com­pass.ca

Com­pass file photo

Ron De­laney is di­rec­tor of eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment for the Town of Bay Roberts.

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