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A melting pot for the soul

The organizers of the 23rd Annual International Culture Wine & Food Festival (ICWFF) put it like this: Nachos. Gyros. Bangers ‘n’ mash. Canadian bacon. Peas ‘n’ rice. Patties. Brochettes. Noodles. Chicken – BBQ’d, roasted, boiled, fried. Roti. Conch every which way. Soup. Stew. Erry kinda fish (even lionfish!). Veggie heaven. Ice cream. Cotton candy…

Get the idea?

The point is that there will be something for everyone to eat at the October 13-14 festival at the Botanical Gardens.

And then there are the libations: every kind of beer you’ve ever heard of – and plenty you haven’t! Rum. Stout. Cider. Gin. Vodka. Lemonade (aka ‘switcher’). Sky juice (loaded or not). Erry kinda soda. Fresh squeezed juices. Coffee and tea (herbal and straight). Sorrel and more!

That sort of sums up what to expect at this weekend’s festival. Also to be taken into account will be the cultural performances from a cross-section of residents, and the colorful national costumes and global experiences to be had.

Then there are the art and craft booths located through the festival site offering colorful and unique items from around the world and The Bahamas as well as a cultural show.

And just for the kiddies, an amusement area set up with all the things that fascinate children – bouncy houses and rides in addition to the Botanical Gardens’ own play area. Then there are the kiddie-centric booths that will offer face painting, and generally all the treats children love.

The festival should exceed people’s expectations according to Kendinique Campbell Moss, public relations officer.

“A plethora of vendors make for a melting pot that truly makes the festival amazing,” said Moss. “And then there’s the culture on display that’s always fabulous. We have 34 booths this year, and we have different artisans.”

Popular Bahamian booths that will be represented include Kalik, Mortimer Candies, Li’l Laura, Sky Juice King, Knowles Crab Shack, Rushin’ Wings, Renaissance Takeaway, Holi Smoke BBQ Grill, Da Fish Net, All Da Meat, Dancing Cooks, Island Cane, Conch ‘n’ Cone, Island Delights, Batter Girls, Frozen Treats, Yummy Sky Juice, Always by Allia, Naturally Bahamian, Cash N’ Go, Bahama Island Farms, Tasty Teas, Coca-Cola/Dasani, Zonta, Rotary, Pop Stop, Limeade Bahamas, Blue Lagoon Island, V&V’s Condiments, Clifford Fernander, Radler, Dion Lewis and Aliv.

International countries that will be represented include Cuba, Dominican Republic, Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago, Bermuda, Haiti and Jamaica from the Caribbean; Greece, Italy, Poland and Bavaria from Europe; Canada, the United States and Mexico from North America; Belize from Central America; Peru from South America; Australia; the Philippines, China and India from Asia. 

Jamaica is always well-represented.

And then there’s the onstage demonstrations like a salsa dance that patrons are invited to participate in.

If she’s unable to visit any other stall while working the festival, Moss said the Filipino stall is a must-do for her.

“I have to hit the Filipino stall. That’s my absolute favorite. Their food is always hot and I can get the extra spice because I like my food spicy. I don’t care what anyone else is selling, how many times I sample anyone else’s, my money just goes towards the Filipinos, and it’s always clean and fresh and very good. I love the food at the Filipino stall. They’re a staple, and because they’ve become such a staple, they have prime spots in terms of the fluidity to get to and from them – they’re directly opposite one of the main stages, so people can go directly to them to get whatever it is that they need,” she said.

To wrap it all up, Scorch Conch Rake ‘n’ Scrape Band, a band which kept the indigenous sound, but decided to give it a more 21st Century feel and sound, will perform on Saturday night from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The band is comprised of young guys who are bringing the love and feel back for the original sound of rake ‘n’ scrape music, adding modern day swag, creativity and rhythm. They like to call it raw music that consists of instruments such as the harmonica (with leader/singer “Blaudy” Pratt), singer (Kavar), saw (Eggy), hub (Welly), goatskin drum (Cody), scrapers (Cobra and Viper) and a keyboard piano (Teddy) for “flava” – adding the pepper to the music.

No matter a person’s age, ethnicity, color or ability, the band members promise people are going to move.

The popular ICWFF was originally conceived to recognize United Nations Day. Under the auspices of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the festival fosters friendly relations and understanding between Bahamians and the international resident community. The experience that emerged from members of the community has become a signature event that serves to demonstrate just how diverse and cosmopolitan The Bahamas has become.

Since its reinstatement in 2009, the festival has proved to be arguably the most popular festival in the country.

The festival is a few weeks early this year, due to the Botanical Gardens having other bookings, so organizers had to take advantage of available dates.

The festival can sometimes turn into one big dance party. The Cubans lead this one.

Festival gates open at 10 a.m. on Saturday and close at 7 p.m.; Sunday they open at 10 a.m. and close at 6 p.m. Adults are $10, children $2 and University of The Bahamas students get in with identification at $5.

Shavaughn Moss

Lifestyles Editor at The Nassau Guardian
Shavaughn Mossjoined The Nassau Guardianas a sports reporter in 1989. She was later promoted to sports editor.Shavaughn covered every major athletic championship from the CARIFTA to Central American and Caribbean Championships through to World Championships and Olympics.
Shavaughn was appointed as the Lifestyles Editor a few years later.

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