Top local chefs compete in annual celebration of islands’ famous delicacy, “Jazz on the Lawn” at The Somerset, charity road race highlight full weekend of activities.
PROVIDENCIALES, Turks and Caicos Islands – October 8, 2009 – The Sixth Annual Turks & Caicos Conch Festival is scheduled for the last weekend in November, with a full line-up of events and activities to celebrate the islands’ most famous delicacy, historical icon, and number one export. The popular beachside event will take place on Saturday afternoon (November 28) in the Blue Hills area of Providenciales, outside of Three Queen’s Bar & Restaurant. Major sponsors include Lime, The Wine Cellar, PPC, and The Somerset on Grace Bay. This year, the traditional and culturally-rich festivities extend throughout the weekend with a pre-party at the Somerset on Friday evening and a charity run on Sunday morning.
“We’re excited about another outstanding Festival that showcases our great chefs and celebrates the unique aspects of the Turks and Caicos. It’s an ideal way for visitors to get a sense of our history, culture and diverse tourism offering,” said Mike Sottak, President of the Conch Festival. “This year the Conch Festival has expanded to add a fine dining component that highlights the culinary destination that the Turks and Caicos has become. A night of music, wine and gourmet dining at The Somerset will set the stage for the traditional seaside island party in Blue Hills that is the Conch Festival. Rounding out the weekend is the charity road race being hosted by Wrightfully Fit Fitness Center on Sunday morning.”
The traditional Conch Festival takes place on Saturday, November 28 at Noon in Blue Hills and is highlighted by a conch tasting competition among 25 local restaurants and chefs, various conch-related activities, local entertainment and the annual Pot of Gold drawing where The Rotary Club of Providenciales draws one lucky ticket worth $10,000.
Friday Night, November 27: Jazz on the Lawn
Held on the grounds of the luxurious beachfront Somerset Resort on Grace Bay, the Friday evening event features local jazz musicians performing under the stars on the resort’s croquet lawn. While listening to smooth tunes, guests will enjoy a gourmet conch-themed dinner presented by host chef Lauren Callighen of The Somerset’s O’Soleil restaurant, who will be joined by guest chefs and Conch Festival judges, Dean Max award-winning chef and owner of several highly regarded restaurants in the US and the Caribbean; and Clay Conley, head chef at Azul in Miami’s Mandarin Oriental Hotel.
Saturday, November 28: Sixth Annual Conch Festival
The weekend kicks into high gear on Saturday, November 28 at Noon in the Blue Hills area. The marquee event of the weekend is the ‘conch-etition’ , which pits the island’s best chefs against each other in a hotly-contested tasting competition judged by a panel of experts as well as the Festival attendees. Categories include Best Conch Salad, Best Conch Chowder, Best Specialty Conch, Best Presentation and Best in Show. More than 25 restaurants are expected to compete for the cash prizes and bragging rights this year. Tasting begins at Noon and runs until 5PM. An entry fee of $20 gives Festival-goers a chance to sample all the dishes entered and cast a vote for Best in Show.
Augmenting the always delectable restaurant competitors is the annual Mojito-making contest sponsored by Bacardi where the island’s best bartenders are on display with their creative twists on this classic Cuban cocktail. This year’s event also features the Turks and Caicos’ own world-renowned Junk-a-Noo, with two separate rushes.
Special Conch Competitions for conch blowing, conch knocking and a conch hunt in the sea will assure that chefs and bartenders are not the only ones who can win prizes. Plus the biggest prize of all will be the cash prize of $10,000 drawn at 5:30 on the day of the festival by the Rotary Club of Providenciales as part of its annual Pot-of-Gold raffle. Tickets are currently on sale from local Rotarians and will be available on the day of the event. However, buying tickets early is highly encouraged because only a limited number are available.
Sunday, November 29: Run for Charity
To burn off the caloric effects of Friday and Saturday, Wrightfully Fit Fitness Center is hosting its first annual charity run on Sunday moving, November 29, 2009. Runners of all levels can enter fun runs of either 5K/3.1 miles or 10K – 6.2miles. The longer race begins at 6:30AM while the 5K race goes off at 7:00AM. Both races begin and end at Wrightfully Fit near Turtle Cove and wind through the scenic beachfront of Providenciales. The proceeds from the race will go toward the Provo Children’s Home, a purpose build child care facility being constructed in the Chalk Sound area of the island. Entry fees are $60 for adults and $30 for children under 18. Sign up in advance at Wrightfully Fit Fitness Center (located at the Miramar Resort near Turtle Cove marina) or by calling 941 3311.
About the Conch Festival
The Conch Festival is family-friendly event with plenty of games and activities for the kids, including the Department of Culture and Youth’s David Bowen running his famous kids games on the beach and showcasing local culture. There will be bouncy castles and cartoon characters, and maybe even a cameo appearance by “you know who” from the North Pole, who comes calling just a month after the Conch Festival.
More information on the Conch Festival can be found at www.conchfestival.com. Special hotel packages for the Conch Festival can be booked through www.turksandcaicosreservations.com