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General News · 23rd May 2014
When the sun appeared so did the crowds on the picnic lawn at Gorge Harbour Marina Resort on May 17th. The additional tents looked like sails above the good ship SEAFEST 2014. Our first and heartfelt thanks go to Richard and Michelle Glickman, Bill Dougan, Tammy Allwork and the staff of Gorge Harbour Store for creating such a beautiful setting and efficient, friendly support for our voyage in appreciation of local seafood.

The real engine behind this movable feast are the local oyster and mussel growers, clam diggers, prawn fishers and processors without whom no seafood on those hundreds of plates would happen. Victor McClaggan delivered oysters to Walcan and to the donated all day shucking efforts at Mac’s Oysters, plus helped shuck 1320 oyster shooters, along with Ces Robinson and Brent Petkau at the raw bar, for those locals and visitors who know there is really only one true way to eat an oyster. Dave Nikleva delivered tents and equipment from BCSGA (BC Shellfish Growers Association) and cooked with Janet over some very hot barbecues. Ron Francis and his team from Island Sea Farms, Dan Hilton and Mitch McCoy, steamed mussels in a wine broth while Brian Cant and Garth Walton, with help from Susanna Bonner and Leah Seltzer, served clams in a reduction of sweet chili sauce and white wine. Julia Rendell and Linda Kovaks worked the Oysters Motoyaki barbecue, and Steve and Linda Potok brought Oysters Rockefeller from Sawmill Bay Shellfish on Quadra Island, plus Jay Donaldson and Ryan Seigel to help serve them. Dianne Hansen and Ian Winter shucked 720 oysters in less than 3 hours to fuel that barbecue engine. Alan Bellmar of C-Fin Fishing provided the not-enough prawns, cooked in a Thai sweet chili, water chestnut and ginger sauce with a cilantro and cucumber garnish by Noba Anderson, Peter Schmidt, Tamara McPhail and Janet Schick.

Our organization partner: The Forest Trust for the Children of Cortes Island, provided a crew of 32 volunteers, captained by Christine Robinson. An additional 39 folks from the aquaculture and local community created the largest ever worker bee wave of energy moving through the cook tents and over the lawns. Approximately 4,200 oysters were cooked into four delicious versions. Penny Tims, Claude Rossman, Gordon and Charlene Gram prepared oysters glazed in lime marmalade, mustard and curry; Kathy Francis, Liz Richardson, Maggie Armitage and John Jordon fried oysters dipped in egg, flour and corn flake crumbs; Ayami Stryk, John Preston, Chris and Debbie Dragseth poached oysters in a miso glaze; and Denise Gibbons, Lisa Gibbons-Weyler, Jonah Weyler and Monica Beal were helped by Dominque Goulet when preparing oysters knapped in buttermilk and cornmeal, then sautéed in a Pernod, buttermilk, and parmesan sauce.

Seafood was not the only rallying flag at the Festival. Fillipe Figueira provided Curious Farm spring mix that was dressed with Ponzu, orange juice and sesame oil and then topped with sushi rice draped with wasabi nori strips. This new SEAFEST signature salad was created and prepared by Barry and Amanda Glickman with help from Fred Apstein and Arlene Carson. Ian Ross and Bianka Satoria toasted garlic bread supplied by the Cortes Natural Food Co-op, whose 60 loaves were cut by Chris and Debbie Dragseth and Donna Manson. Henry Simpson manned the hot dog barbecue for those unwilling or unable to each just one more oyster, while Deva Braaten, Laara Huuskonen, Mira Braaten and Nola MaPhail polished future careers in banking at the soft drink and oyster shooter ticket table. Mario de Rose became a show unto himself by walking the line of hungry seafoodies with a tray of oyster shooters, bottles of hot sauce and a selection of soft drinks.

These excellent workers were the “front counter” volunteers. Behind them was another hive of support. Seafood lovers were greeted by Donna Manson, Kellen Warkentin, Doone Warkentin, Diane Daly and Carol Trueman at the ticket table before moving into the barbecue zone where Mary Lavalle, Eva Boucek, Colleen Dragseth and Kiera Tsakonas were plating the half-shell beauties everyone was willing to wait for. In a new cooking technique this year, Lore Mack-Mumford, Fawn Baron and Leslie Mack-Mumford poached oysters to clear and slightly firm the meat, before Rick Kolstadt and Deb Peters delivered these to the cook stations. Alma Huuskonen and Liam Preston offered the cooks “happy plates” of all the various dishes to sample; while Bob Tracy could be seen repeatedly carrying cases of shucked oysters to the cook line, after having spent the day before picking up tables and helping set up the grounds. In arguably the most significant service task of the day—Eva, Christine, Noba, Phil and Sue Allen, Kathy Winter, Kathy Walton, Carol London and Yvonne Kipp were relief cooks for the line, plus filled in a myriad of small but critical tasks, earning deep gratitude and the title of SEAFEST hovercraft. Graham Gignac and Michelle Kennedy were the Gorge store go-fers for the equally myriad items that needed fetching right now! Doug Brown of Good Libations donated the bottles of wine around which many cooks did their own version of hovering as the crowd thinned.

The music ascended from this gathering like the proverbial lark in the clear air. Andy Vine again coordinated, set up and arranged a growing and eclectic mix of great moods and musical styles. Laurel Bohart on flute and harp, David Blinzinger and Stefano Perdisa on sax and guitar joined by Bianca Kaakinen offered soft jazz; Andy on guitar, Leonard Woywitka on bass, Drivin’ on keyboard and Danielle Arcand sang the rhythms of Island Time; Fred Apstein and Arlene Carson on fiddle and accordion played and sang ol’ tyme country; Larry Hanson on guitar and Ronnie Pielle on drums were joined by everyone else plus Bob Tracy on harmonica which pretty much brought the house down.

And there was still another layer of support. Lisa Gibbons-Weyler, Shantima Braaten and Rhadika Raturi created the art-full SEAFEST poster, while Ester Strijbos handled all the promotion, advertisements and web postings with colorful frequency. Andy Ellingsen did such a fine job with the general signage that the Festival has durable plastic signs on new stakes to last for years to come. Noba, Peter, Bob, Phil and Sue helped John put up tents, while Garth, Phil, Andy and lots of others helped everything still standing, after Larry played Johnny Cash, come back down.

And yet bigger support was behind this movable feast. Blanca Scanlon-Sharpe drove the Cortes Connection free shuttle, sponsored by a Legacy Fund Grant from the Coastal Community Credit Union, for record numbers of folks who were able to leave their cars at home.

The last best thank you goes in two directions: for your willingness to keep SEAFEST a community celebration of these bountiful waters, thanks to all Cortesians for coming out in such numbers. This perfect day was for you. And especially thank you to John Shook, my King of Hearts, for being the King of patience and problem-solving behind every stage of the effort it takes to serve a 10 course gourmet lunch, cooked on campstoves in three hours, to approximately 700 people.

Our organization partner for next year is the WiFi Society. Plan on joining, or attending a workshop, and supporting them by becoming a volunteer at SEAFEST 2015. Thanks for the sunshine. Kristen