Annual Festival Celebrates Island Heritage with delicious Blue Land Crab
“Catch ’em, cook ’em, eat ’em”.
Sounds like the Giant Troll’s refrain as they relish the sight of little Hobbits before them.
We’re not talking Tolkien, but this event is no less epic.
June 28th marks the third annual Middle Caicos CrabFest at Bambarra Beach on Middle Caicos Island, a celebration which showcases the island’s cultural heritage of catching, preparing, and eating the local land crabs.
Delightful rhythms punctuate the warm Caribbean air. The aroma emanating from the array of delectable dishes is intoxicating. The guest of honor of this celebration, however, definitely has a leg up on anything else vying for your attention in the islands. In fact, the star of this festival has eight legs. The Cardisoma guanhumi, also known as the blue land crab, is well known in the Middle and North Caicos Islands which are less populated and have more bush area where these creatures can live and eat. CrabFest is all about the seasonal emergence of these crustaceans from their burrows and their relationship to the island. It’s a time for islanders to celebrate their roots and for visitors to join in the fun.
Says Minister Donhue Gardiner, North & Middle Caicos MP, when he was interviewed by Deandrea Hamilton on Turquoise Morning, “It is good for us to get back to basics with all of these things and back to our heritage, understanding where we come from, understanding what we would normally eat. When it’s crabbing time, it’s an excellent time in North and Middle Caicos.”
CrabFest kicks off with a pre-party the night before featuring lots of musical entertainment. The next day starting at 10:00 am and continuing all day, there is a cultural show featuring local bands and a dizzying array of crab themed dishes prepared by local vendors.
Shane Outten, President of CrabFest 2013 told Turquoise Morning, “CrabFest is all about coming to Middle Caicos and experiencing different kinds of crab, different kinds of crab as in how do you prepare it. There’s not only crab and rice and crab soup, but there are many other ways to prepare crab.”
To watch the Turquoise Morning clip titled Crab Fever in Middle Caicos, Turks and Caicos – 2013! press play on the video link below:
Yes, the variety of crab dishes is amazing. There is crab with rice, crab with grits, crab cakes, crab soup, and crab salad. It’s all here. Chefs are preparing, seasoning and cooking up all kinds of creative crustacean creations for visitors clamoring for crab.
But the crab mania doesn’t stop at cooking. No festival would be complete without the sounds of the islands too. Local musicians and bands will be performing live on stage. While enjoying the cuisine, visitors will be entertained with melodies and rhythms produced from ripsaw, guitar, drums, keyboards and vocals.
And how do visitors get to this festival you might ask? Well, Middle Caicos is one of the lesser travelled islands. But if you’re coming from Providenciales, you can hop on the ferry and make your way to Middle Caicos. There will be bus transportation as well as parking areas for those driving by car. There are travel groups like Caribbean Cruisin’ charters which can provide ferry and bus combination packages.
CrabFest happens at the end of June which fittingly reflects the zodiac sign. It’s the time of the crab. Middle Caicos CrabFest is a symbol of a shellfish but the collective experience of the Caribbean. Bambarra Beach is the place for more than a “pinch” of fun where delicious food is “shelled” out with a smile and Caicos culture “basks” in the sun.