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General News · 22nd May 2013
Ester Strijbos
So - it all was true, what the weeks of updates said. Seafoodie heaven on earth happened. The Vesta Fire circus came. The Gypsy Calypso Dream Caravan bellydancers came. Musicians came. You came in record numbers. Oysters, clams, mussels and prawns popped, and got hot, and jumped up. 49 volunteers and seafood farmers came to help. Thank you isn’t big enough, but it’s the only set of words John and I have - to give to each of you who made this day the best ever.

My first and most heartfelt thanks go to our fellow oyster and seafood farmers; without you this festival truly would not happen. Victor MacClaggan, Ian Winter and Ces Robinson at the shooter table helped by Matthew Wright of the BCSGA and Dianne Hansen (who shucked 600 oysters without stopping!), Brent Petkau serving clams helped by Ian Ross and Ann Lise Hollier, Ron Francis of Island Seafarms serving mussels helped by Dan Hilton. Julia Rendell and Dave Nikleva at the barbecues supported by Janet Nikleva, Linda Kovaks, Wes Neill, Jay Donaldson and Rik Ochsenbein. Also serving specialties from the grill was Steve and Linda Potok of Sawmill Bay Oysters on Quadra Island. Alan Bellmar of C-Fin fishery provided the prawns and Garth Walton was helping in that fabulous cook line.

That cook line - a slowly moving, constantly friendly stairway to heaven - was supported by our organization partners this year: St. Saviour’s by the Sea Church in Cortes Bay. Marg and Sully Sullivan plus Graham Gignac and Quentin Dodd washed and chopped 48 heads of Romaine (think about that the next time you are making salad for dinner), plus attended to garbage cans, put up parking signs, and took tickets along with Vern Logan at the cash box. Tara Warkentin was our go-to gal for more from the store. Jeannie Campbell, Marion and Tom Bennet all supported Jim Kerney at the salad table who was also serving artisan bread provided by the Cortes Natural Food Co-op. Our fabulous SEAFEST poster was designed and created by JerryAnne Haggart. Ian Disney and Gordie Cormack took away a full truck of recycling and landfill.

Of course the cooks and those fabulous recipes helped a few folks find pearls, but not the pearly gates. Sharon Evans served the oysters in jalapeño sauce, helped by Stephen McRorie and Whitney Griswold. Claude Rossman and Penny Tims prepared oysters in marmalade mustard sauce, and Christine Robinson and Carol London were helped by Steve London serving oysters in a roasted red pepper sauce. Kathy Francis, Liz Richardson, and Maggie Armitage prepared oysters home-style in cornflake crumbs, while Lynn and Ray Marttila sauted prawns.

A veritable host of angelic helpers were flying in all directions behind the scenes. Thanks to the Squirrel Cove Store team for getting the cooks’ ingredients in and out so smoothly. The grounds were groomed, picnic tables arranged and everything in place for the ascent to seafoodie heaven. Thanks especially to O’Byrne Taylor for allowing the Teenzene to take over the Flying Squirrel Take Out to sell hamburgers as a fundraiser for their organization. Graham Gignac, Noba Anderson and Peter Schmidt were sort of everywhere - serving shooters to the line, feeding the cooks, hanging signs and making runs to the store. Marc Ochsenbein, Doug Wyler, Bob Tracy helped Graham, Matthew and John put up the tents. Ester Strijbos created our continuous publicity. A chorus of local and area artists made heavenly music: Andy Vine, Dannielle Arcand, Laurel Bohart, David Blinzinger Leonard Woywitka, Stefano Perdisa, and Drivin’. The Cortes Community Credit Union helped us fund the free shuttle provided by the Cortes Connection; the Strathcona Regional District contributed funds to the Seafood Association water testing program; and Doug Brown of Good Libations supported all the cooks and helpers with some good libations at the festival’s end.

Lastly I must give special thanks to some folks who came forward with even more generosity, if this is possible. Bill Dougan of the Gorge Harbour Marina Resort provided a free-to -them-and-us shuttle from the marina to the festival for their guests. Trude Albright gave us an incredible cake for a very successful raffle…and did I mention - Dianne Hansen shucked 600 oysters without stopping! Speaking of numbers… we served 200 lbs of clams, 200 lbs of mussels, clearly not enough prawns (but all we could afford), and 5,400 oysters.

We had a great day, thanks for sharing yours with us, Kristen and John