Excited about seafood in Bay Roberts
Town gearing up for second annual festival
It may be a winter’s day in spring on March 25, but inside his office at the Cable Building in Bay Roberts, Ron Delaney is dreaming of spring.
The town’s director of economic development and tourism has been fielding calls and emails from eager foodies from the Trinity-Conception-Placentia region and beyond since the website for the second Songs, Stages and Seafoods went live on March 21.
Interest in the seafood festival appears to be at an all-time high and it is still two months away. It is scheduled for May 22-25 at many different venues in Bay Roberts.
The outdoor seating for the Chef ’ s Seafood Barbeque has been sold out, with seats remaining inside at the Royal Canadian Legion. Delaney said he is excited about this year’s edition of what is quickly becoming a popular destination.
“It was a great fit and it is a great fit,” said Delaney. “We wanted to bring some amazing chefs to the area, we wanted to try and integrate the sea and some of the venues next the sea here, and we did that.” The director called last year’s event a “learning curve.” Perhaps the group’s greatest learning curve dealt with the food aspect. The aim for the first one was to generate products that were made completely from local products. Bay Roberts came close but never quite got to that goal with a 95 per cent of the food used being purchased from local vendors.
However, this year’s event will be different. Delaney said that barring any rare requests from chefs, the town will be using 100 per cent local products.
“The only way it won’t be is if one of the chefs decides to do something like caviar. Something that’s exotic and not from the area,” he said.
This festival is not only about serving up that per fect bacon-wrapped scallop or boiling a large lobster. There is also a musical component to be found. “Stages as a term has two meanings,” said Delaney. “Stages are where you harvest the fish, but it is also for performance.”
Bay Roberts has a history of building musical components into its tourism events. From its “Toutons and Tunes” to “Cellars and Songs,” there is always music to be heard at the conclusion of these events. Delaney said it is because it adds a realistic feel to it.
“We have the best of the best chef ’s in the province coming here this year,” said Delaney. “All of them are well-known across Canada.”
He was talking about the allstar crew being brought to Bay Roberts for the festival. Alongside the Harbour Breeze’s Gary Gosse, there will be Roary MacPherson, Chris Sheppard, Roger Andrews and Chris Chafe, amongst others.
What sets the Songs, Stages and Seafood festival apart from others of its kind, according to Delaney, is the educational component available to visitors.
At its Experience the Sea Luncheon, chefs will show guests how to make their meals. There is also the Newfoundland and Labrador Seafood Chowder Challenge, where visitors will receive instructions on creating their own chowders.
“It is a provincial-level festival,” said Delaney.
Ron Delaney is director of economic development and tourism with the Town of Bay Roberts.