Monday, 11 April 2011

Treasure Beach Bread Basket Festival Launched

Treasure Beach Bread Basket Festival Launched
Photos courtesy
Article by Dr Christine Marrett
Treasure Beach, April 8,  2011

Elizabeth Selzter - Calabash House
Organizers of the Treasure Beach Bread Basket Festival – a smorgasbord of cultural, culinary, music, literary and visual arts events at various locations in Treasure Beach to be held on May 27, 28, and 29, 2011 – received the welcome news that the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) had approved in full their application for grant funds. Mrs. Judy Schoenbein, Chairman of the South Coast Chapter of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA), made the announcement at the media launch of the Festival, held at the Two Seasons Guest House in Treasure Beach on Friday, April 8.

Mrs. Schoenbein expressed gratitude to the TEF Board of Directors for recognizing the south coast as being an integral part of the tourism product. She described the south coast as “a very special place in Jamaica. We are off the beaten track, and we offer so different experiences from our north coast. Although we love our north coast, we are a part of the Jamaican product as well and we are very happy today to be able to announce to you that we have a new event for the calendar of events for the south coast. It’s called the Treasure Beach Bread Basket Festival.”

Judy Schoenbein - JHTA South Coast
In welcoming the press and other guests from the Treasure Beach community, including a representative of the police force, Mrs. Schoenbein told the gathering that the Festival is a team effort. “As you all know, the south coast is the home of community tourism and therefore we are launching yet again another community tourism event”, she said.

Mr. Jason Henzell, Chairman of Jake’s Resort, Breds Treasure Beach Foundation, and of the St. Elizabeth Parish Development Committee; President of Island Outpost, and Councillor of the JHTA South Coast Chapter, gave the background to the festival.

He explained, “When the Calabash Literary Festival was called off this year, obviously [members of] the community were very upset… because the [Calabash] festival grew into meaning a lot for a lot of people over the 10 year period.  So instead of crying about it, what we decided to do was to get together, put our minds together, see how we could create something different. This is not intended to compete with Calabash. The reality is that…we are hoping that the Calabash Literary Festival will actually come back starting next year and that this new brand called the Treasure Beach Bread Basket Festival would then move to another weekend.” In fact, the idea for such a festival had been mooted from as early as 2009.
Jason Henzell - Island Outpost

Commenting on the effort to host such an event, Mr. Henzell said, “Creating a brand and a festival takes a lot of work as we saw with Calabash. But it can also have tremendous effects.” He further added that, “We believe that in Treasure Beach, the events that you do, and the events that you choose not to do, help to frame the identity of the community.” He expressed delight at the way in which persons came together to plan for the Festival and said, “We are hoping that for next year and for years to come, other persons will join in and will add another aspect to this festival. In my mind this is really a true community effort”. He thanked both the Board of the TEF and the JHTA for believing in the Festival.
Standing between a cascade of flowers, fruit, vegetables, thyme, scallion, coconuts, fishnet, shells, and books – a creation of event planner in Treasure Beach, Denise Wedderburn – and a huge basket of fruit and vegetables prepared by the staff of Sunset Resort and Villas (both displays representing St. Elizabeth, which is known as the bread basket of Jamaica) each of the organizers gave a synopsis of their event.
Winnie Hylton - Taino Cove

Mrs. Winnie Hylton, owner of Taino Cove Guest House, which will be hosting Culture Night on Friday, May 27, beginning at 6 p.m, said that “the entire event will be a distinctive mark of our ‘Jamaicaness’, highlighting those aspects that continue to contribute to our positive international image and give us our reputation as a cultural mecca in the Caribbean.” Working in collaboration with the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) in mounting Culture Night, Taino Cove “is providing a unique opportunity for residents in Treasure Beach and its environs as well as other visitors to the Festival to celebrate, interact with, and learn from Jamaicans who are accomplished in their given fields, such as the local and international story teller, Amina Blackwood Meeks, and the dub poetry collective known as Royal African soldiers”, she said.

Dr. Christine Marrett, owner of Two Seasons Guest House, spoke of the Two Seasons Talking Trees Literary Fiesta, to be held on Saturday, May 28, starting at 9 a.m. going through to 5 p.m. She highlighted the collaborative effort with two other literary events - Independent VoYces, held in November last year, and the Asante Literary Lyme to be held earlier in May. She mentioned that in addition to a variety of new and established local writers, the Nigerian writer with Jamaican roots, Igoni Barrett, will be featured. He is the winner of the BBC 2005 best short story writer among other awards. For information on the Two Seasons Talking Trees Literary Fiesta, she encouraged persons to visit the website,, which has links to the programme and bios of all the readers. Dr. Marrett also acknowledged the assistance of Gwyneth Harold Davidson and Janet Barrett in organizing the Fiesta.
Christine Marrett - Two Seasons

Ms. Sharon Martini, an active member of Treasure Beach Women’s Group (TBWG), classically trained vocalist, actress, writer and illustrator, gave the audience a taste of the fare she will be serving up at the Evening of Song, a classical recital, to be held on Saturday, May 28, at 7 p.m. at the Frenchman’s Reef Restaurant and Bar. So impressed was the audience that they prevailed on her to sing another selection. At the Evening of Song, Ms. Martini will be accompanied by Mr. Denny Davis, music lecturer at Bethlehem Moravian College. As this event is a fund raiser for TBWG, donations will be accepted.

 Ms. Tamesha Dyght, personal assistant at Jake’s Resort, announced that Calabashment, the traditional stage show that was part of the Calabash festival, will be held at Jack Sprat at 9 p.m. on Saturday, May 28. Calabashment will feature Protégé, who is himself from St. Elizabeth and a product of Munro College. Also appearing will be Rootz Underground. Negotiations were ongoing with other top acts to perform at the event. 

Sharon Martini - Evening of Song, Frenchman's Reef
Mr. Kory South, Owner of Sunset Resort and Villas and a Councillor of the JHTA South Coast Chapter, enthusiastically spoke of the wide variety of dishes that will be available at the Bread Basket Brunch, being served up at Sunset Resort and Villas on Sunday, May 29, beginning at 9 a.m. Indicating that the brunch will have as wide a variety of dishes as there were  items in the basket on display that was packed with foodstuff from the parish, he promised that “we’re really going to go all out for this brunch”, and invited everyone to “come out and try it”.

 Ms. Elizabeth Eyre Seltzer, owner of Calabash House with its Mermaid Art Gallery, will host a fine arts exhibit on Sunday, May 29 at 12 noon. She highlighted that there will be “a lot of local painters, including Jason’s mother… Sally Henzell, Sciola, Virginia Burke… and we are going to be doing a fashion show. I am a fibre artist in what they call ‘art wearables’. I will be doing my line and Jackie Cohen of Mutamba will also be opening her new line, Masii, and we are hoping to have a DJ.”

Mrs. Schoenbein told the gathering that each person attending the Treasure Beach Bread Basket Festival will be given a little basket to be filled with “your memories, with your experience and with our produce from the south coast… we look forward to everyone out there coming and filling their basket and filling their weekend with great memories, great experiences of the south coast. It is May 27 to the 29. Save the date and come.”

In response to a question about the objective of the Festival, the Chairman of the JHTA South Coast Chapter stated that without it there would be a huge fall out for properties from Westmoreland to Manchester. By staging the Treasure Beach Bread Basket Festival, she said, “what we are in effect doing is reserving the slot [that had been carved out by the Calabash Literary Festival], maintaining a … presence in the market place and also filling the rooms with good occupancy”, in addition to the spin off to the craft vendors, restaurants and attractions. 
Kory South - Sunset Resort and Villas

In addition to the TEF, sponsors of the Treasure Beach Bread Basket Festival include Power 106 and FM99, St. Bess Radio, and Newtalk 93 FM.

Other upcoming calendar events in Treasure Beach are the Jake’s off-road triathlon, on April 16; and the Treasure Beach Jazz Escape hosted jointly by Two Seasons Guest House and TBWG. 

The web-site for the Festival is being hosted free of charge on

The Treasure Beach Bread Basket Festival, happening on the last weekend in May, promises to feed your mind, body and spirit in the welcoming, laid back atmosphere of the community that is Treasure Beach.

For further information, contact Christine Marrett,, or telephone 571-0818.