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General News · 21st May 2012
Kristen Scholfield-Sweet
WOW…What a day!

John and I had so much help at SEAFEST on May 19th that this thank you may read like the Cortes phone book. O’Byrne Taylor, Jan Boley, Traci Dimitrov, and the staff of the Squirrel Cove Store managed the site preparation, food ordering and general taking care of details with efficiency and good humor. Inspired and promoted by Ester Strijbos and James Beaufait, the Coastal Community Credit Union sponsored the free shuttle which expanded into two shuttles from Andrew Ferguson of the Cortes Connection, driven by Blanca Scanlon-Sharpe and supported by Angela Zamboni. Mac’s Oysters of Fanny Bay did their usual excellent job of shucking oysters, while Walcan of Quadra and Aquatec of Comox provided the processing. Matthew Wright, the Executive Director of BC Shellfish Growers Association, brought tents and lots of propane cook stands for our feast. The set up crew who joined John and Matthew were Doug Weyler, Bob Tracy, Gary Block, and Marc Ochsenbein who transformed the old soccer field into the setting for seafoodie heaven.

Before that serving line started to form Andy Vine was setting up the music, and was joined in rousing songs and foot-tapping instrumentals by Danielle Arcand, Laurel Bohart, Eric Fine, Liesa vanRossem, Denise Wolda, David Blinzinger and Stephano Paradiso, plus some talented but un-named musicians who just sat in for a tune or two.

The largest crowd in recent memory of islanders and visitors got the word because of the steadily creative media publicity by Ester Strijbos and the stunningly creative Festival poster designed by Denise Gibbons. The gathering was welcomed by Norman Harry Sr. representing Chief James Delorme and the Council of the Klahoose First Nation, who then introduced the elders in attendance, and Ken Hanuse, who sang two traditional songs to open the Festival.

The Old School House Gallery, our 2012 fundraising partners, provided 15 helpers to join 23 volunteers and friends of the 8 oyster growers… and when that conga food line started moving…Seafoodies were treated to homestyle pan-fried oysters prepared by Kathy Francis, Liz Richardson and Arlene Thromess; Island Sea Farm mussels served by Ron Francis with help from Traci Dimitrov; glazed oysters cooked by Penny Tims and Claude Rossman; garlic toast and rolls from Jim Kerney and Christine Robinson; oysters in fermented black bean sauce prepared by Les Yamada and Sean Murphy, assisted by Noba Anderson and Bob Tracy; oyster sausage pearls served by Barry Glickman and Amanda Thornton, helped by John Knowles and De Clark; Sawmill Bay oysters Rockefeller presented by Jay Donaldson, Julia Rendell and Linda Kovacs; Cesar salad from James Beaufait and Lisa Gibbons Wyler with Rebeka Carpenter at the Hollyhock kitchen helping that preparation; Thai prawns from Dave Nikleva and Judy Malek; oysters poached in Miso sauce by Ayami Stryk and John Preston helped by Christer Ecstrom; and two varieties of clams served by Brent Petkau and Ann Lise Hollier and Ian Ross. Victor McLaggan, Cec Robinson and Ian Winter shucked raw oyster shooters for the aficionados and the adventuresome. We served 4,200 cooked oysters and 500 raw shooters, 150 lbs. of mussels, 200 lbs. of clams and 30 lbs. of prawns. Well done Seafoodies!

But of course it takes more than food to make a festival a success. Lynne Barker, Janet Turpin, Dianne Daly, Mary Lu Lorenson and Carol Trueman took tickets, passed out plates and sold drinks, Diane Bersea hung signs, Doug Butts took care of the traffic control and helped clean up during the festival, Noba Anderson and Mary Lu Lorenson fed the hard working cooks and store staff, while Ian Ross was a runner for everything that everyone just ran out of. Marcel Creurer sold fresh oysters and mussels so visitors could take the Festival home. So many people helped clean up that it’s now a blur how the tents came down and the grounds were picked up, but thanks to LeeAnn Campbell who not only picked up oysters for the Festival, but returned all the garbage cans borrowed from Dova Whiltshire at the Recycling Center, since the rest of us were too tired to do even just one more thing.

And yet my most significant thank you is reserved for the growers themselves, who hardly ever get mentioned, and whose numbers are dwindling, and without whom a festival of local seafood would neither be local nor much fun: John Shook, Julia Rendell, Cec Robinson, Ian Winter, Dave Nikleva, Victor McLaggan, Brent Petkau, Ron Francis managing Island Sea Farms and Alain of C-Fin Fishing.

WOW! What a community! Thanks for a great day, till next year…Kristen