For the first time in three years, residents and visitors converged on McClean’s Town East Grand Bahama this past Monday, 10 Oct. to celebrate the 50th Annual Conch Cracking Festival co-sponsored by the Ministry of Tourism, Investments & Aviation (MOTIA) under the theme, “50 Years and Still Cracking!” Minister for Grand Bahama, The Honourable Ginger Moxey expressed how elated she was for
the return of the festival and commended the ‘Beautiful Grand Bahama’ committee for expediting the renovations and preparation of the festival site.
“The Conch Cracking Festival is another clear signal that tourism is back and highlights the importance of promoting and protecting our rich Bahamian cultural heritage throughout Grand Bahama Island,” Minister Moxey said.
“The return of these festivals has proven to be a major boost to the local economy and for tourism at large. We applaud all those amazing persons from ‘Beautiful Grand Bahama’ who worked tirelessly, organizers, and other stakeholders to help us facilitate another world-class
event. The success of Conch Cracking is proof positive that we are stronger together and that indeed it takes all of us to help make Grand Bahama GRAND again.”
Minister Moxey, added that the island is ready for more of these kinds of events and further underscored the importance of promoting and protecting the rich Bahamian cultural heritage throughout the archipelago.
The conch-centered event is an annual homecoming festival that started in 1972, where locals and visitors alike engage in friendly competition for an authentically designed conch trophy. The objective of the competition is to extract and clean as many conchs as swiftly possible.
“The Ministry of Tourism, Investments & Aviation is always pleased to partner with cultural events on island,” said Elaine Smith, Coordinator, Product Department, MOTIA. “We believe that events like McClean’s Town Conch Cracking Festival are an integral part of the island’s
tourism product, and we recognise the importance of these events that highlight our culture to visitors, locals, and residents.”
The festival experienced a three-year hiatus due to Hurricane Dorian and the Covid-19 pandemic.
Geno Thomas, President of the Conch Cracking Committee, said, “Despite the chaos of Hurricane Dorian and the pandemic, after three years of not being able to have the event, I feel that the association with the help of the Ministries did a fantastic job in putting the event together.”
Each year, the festival attracts hundreds of tourists to compete alongside residents in the fierce competitions and savour conch themed delicacies, other native dishes and specialty Bahamian drinks.
The various categories, this year, included open men’s, open women’s, visitors, and a media/business category.
Winners in the visitor category were Bruce Moyer from New Jersey who took home the 1 st place trophy; Reece Evans from Michigan placed second and Gail Maxwell from North Carolina placed third.
Walter Reckley of McClean’s Town won the open men’s category, Alfred “Purple” Sweeting finished second and Mardo Carey finished third. In the open women’s category, Tehera Davis of McClean’s Town placed first, Maxine Reckley of McClean’s Town placed second, and Joan Russell of Holmes Rock placed third. While in the media and business category, Headley Forbes of H. Forbes Charter finished first, Vandyke Hepburn finished second and Tim Aylen of Our News finished third.
The Festival, which boasts of being the oldest on Grand Bahama Island, was started in 1972 by Jeffrey David Morgan, a teacher from England.
From: Bahamas Information Services
More photo highlights below: