St Francis Chokka full of locals and visitors for Calamari Classic Festival
What a great weekend this past Calamari Festival weekend turned out to be. We’re definitely on the right track to making this a growing annual event to compete with similar festivals be they in Knysna, Plett, Oudtshoorn or any other Southern Cape town along the adventure coast.
Kicking off the weekend was day one of the annual Calamari Classic Golf which was played in nigh perfect weather over the three days. A little bit of history was made this year when for the first time in the 21 years of the Calamari Classic, the overall event was won by a lady! Jenny Ririe showed up her male counterparts scoring a total of 105 points over the three days of competition, one better than runners up Hermanus Potgieter (104 pts) and Eddie Daniel also on 104pts but 3rd on a count out.
Saturday morning heralded to start of the second Calamari Cook-Off and there is little doubt this event has already captured the attention of not only locals but many visitors to boot. Hours before the event was due to start the crowd was already gathering and parking was at a premium. Having missed last year’s inaugural cook-off we have nothing to compare Saturday’s event with but this year was certainly a success and must become an annual event. Certainly there will have been a few lessons learnt and but overall it ran smoothly and those St Francis Tourism committee members who put it all togetherare to be congratulated.
It was great to have Kouga Executive Mayor Horatio Hendricks officially open the event with a light-hearted speech with several tongue-in-cheek references to Jeffreys Bay, all taken in good humour by the partisan crowd. Following the opening speech Hendrick’s visited each of the cook-off competitors learning no doubt a bit about an industry that is a vital industry and employer in the Kouga region.
Gremlins are always part of any event and are sure to present themselves at the most inopportune moment. And so they did during the cooking demonstration by the Celebrity chef Mother and daughter team Lani and Louzel who were recently placed third in the TV series “My Kitchen Rules”. Midway through the demo the sound system ‘popped’ rather interrupting their demo but other than this small hiccup the event went without anything more serious conspiring against the organisers.
And so the cooking started with wonderful of aromas infusing the air inside the competitors marquee.
And then it was time to taste!
R100 bought one three ‘taste’ and there was little doubt the aromas had whet the appetites of the crowd for there was wall to wall people crowded round the cooking stations getting their servings of local calamari cooked in so many ways and flavours. Portions were small but tasty and all said and done the judges had the final say.
Joe Fish Restaurant took top honours followed by NSRI and a very commendable third, (and my favourite) Jenny’s Take-Away. A little side note … Jenny’s Take-Away is situated in Sea Vista and has become a popular take-way vendor not only to the Sea Vista’s locals but also to growing number of St Francis locals. Jenny’s was also the first shop in Sea Vista to support St Francis Animal Rescue by stocking and selling discounted dog and cat food for for township pets.
Well done St Francis Tourism for putting on a great event. Of course you will have to up the ante next year but you have created something that really fits in with the very popular Calamari Classic Golf. It is now important to start building the brand, the “CALAMARI CLASSIC” brand with other events, sports, food and other events strengthening the brand until ir competes shoulder to shoulder with events like the Knysna Oyster Festival.
Tomorrow … The St Francis Runners Nautical Half Marathon