Sunday, October 15, 2017

Duncombe named 2017 Conch Cracking champion

Conch Cracking Festival winners pictured with MOTA representatives Elaine Smith, Coordinator, Product Department; Jeffrey Pinder, Sr. Executive, Sustainable Tourism, along with BTC representative Letisha Lord. (Photo courtesy of MOT)

By The Freeport News

Hundreds of residents and visitors flocked to the East End Primary School to celebrate the 45th Annual McLean’s Town Conch Cracking Festival on Grand Bahama Island on National Heroes Day.

The festival, which has been a staple homecoming event on Grand Bahama Island, began in 1972 under the inspiration of English teacher Jeffery Morgan and has since grown into a homecoming festival dedicated solely to the conching industry.

Elaine Smith, Coordinator, Product Department, Ministry of Tourism and Aviation (MOTA) said, “As one of the staple events on Grand Bahama Island – this homecoming festival is one that I truly enjoy, simply because it gives the McLean’s Town community the perfect opportunity to not only showcase their talent when it comes to the conching industry, but also because it creates an avenue for authentic Bahamian activities to continuously be on display”.

The festival, which tells the story of the past and draws attention to the rich value of Bahamian history, began at 11:00 a.m. and allowed those in attendance to enjoy both local cuisine and music performed by the Deep South Island Boys, the Grand Bahama District of the Royal Bahamas Police Pop Band and DMAC.

Peter Turnquest, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance said, “Today, we celebrate this 45th anniversary of the original conch cracking in The Bahamas. This is the original festival and it distinguishes this community and celebrates its history as a fishing village and as a conching village.

“I am so happy that Mr. Lethan and his team gave me the pleasure to welcome you all once again,” said Turnquest.

With numerous conch themed dishes and the renowned conch cracking competition being the highlight of the day, many residents and visitors had the opportunity to participate in the family oriented festivities.

Wilton Duncombe, who visited the festival from Sweetings Cay, placed first overall in the main conch cracking event. Second place was earned by Carlton McIntosh and Joseph Tate placed third overall.

California native Bob Porter, who centers his vacation around the conch cracking festival, placed first in the visiting male division and Canadian resident Amy Brooder placed first in the open visitor category.

As the promotion and facilitation of cultural festivals on Grand Bahama Island has always been one of the main goals of the Ministry of Tourism and Aviation, Smith said that “We are proud to partner with the residents and descendants of McLean’s Town and we look forward to the successful continuation of this historic homecoming event.”