Sea food and eat it
Bay Roberts hosting its first ever seafood festival
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.
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.
Ron Delaney is director of economic development for the Town of Bay Roberts.