Residents of the farming district of Rock River in Clarendon are underscoring the importance of the Rock River Mango and Sorrel Festival, adding that they hope it will only get stronger.
The second annual event, which was held in the tiny town on Friday, July 19, pulled a relatively large throng of people, who immersed themselves in commercial activities, socializing, and of course a stage show that was headlined by the Hilarious Granny.
Gwendolyn Grandison, an educator from Rock River district, told The Beacon that the event created a melting pot for people and communities.
“This is a very good event because I notice that it really brings the communities together. People are moving about greeting each other that they have not see for quite a while,” she said, adding that she was pleased with the products on display – especially the mango curry.
“I like the products because I am one who goes for natural products. Knowing that this is a mango community, I like the way they put the things together, showing that they can use mangoes to do different things,” Grandison added.
Residents, with help from the Clarendon chapter of the Social Development Commission (SDC), lined both sides of the Post Office street with tents from which farmers and other vendors sold mainly items they had produced.
The standout creations included mango curry, sorrel drinks, mango pickle, mango jam, mango drinks, and a variety of pastries made from sorrel or mangoes.
There was even a competition aimed at sparking interest in agro-processing and marketing of the items created.
The judges, who declared the Rock River Senior Citizens Group as winner, instructively, looked at areas such as branding and labelling, taste, creativity, and marketability.
“This is all about economic development using the resources that exist in your community to transform that into viable business. So far, in this parish, we are doing quite well,” said Baldwin McKenzie, Clarendon Parish Manager for the state-owned SDC.
The SDC’s Local Economic Coordinator for Clarendon, Tarance Anderson, said the agency will continue to help residents in improving their products.
“Most of these products, we will be continuing to work with the groups so as to really get them standardized and to improve on their packaging and labelling, and certainly see how we can bring them to the status of local economic initiatives,” he explained.
Politicians who attended the event, in the meantime, gave it big endorsements.
“I am happy to see the crowd; I am happy for those who participate in this activity. From a learning perspective, for this mango and sorrel festival, we will learn and each year we will be better,” said Uriah Mitchell, Councillor for Rock River Division. A similar sentiment was expressed by Romaine Morris, the Mocho Division representative.
Here are some of Festival moments captured on camera:
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