Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Seafest behind the scenes

Great white wings of tents like butterflies of impossible dimension on the lawn of Gorge Harbour Marina.  Lines of neighbors helping neighbors and new friends.  Movement and aroma and shifting colors everywhere. This is what I imagine Seafest to be like for those who attend, and for those who serve.

My experience is slightly different. 
The to-do list begins during the first week of April 
and picks up speed and pressure approaching THE day.

The day before Seafest begins quietly enough.  
Certainly someone needs to have instructions 
for how to assemble all those tent parts,

and it is amazing to discover 
how many baby bok choy fit in a 30 lb box,
 how long it takes to peel 5 lbs of mandarin oranges,
 and how sore hands can get dicing 24 English cucumbers.

Seafest seems to thrive on tradition, and a few years ago 
some beautiful island children entertained themselves
 drawing pictures on foamboard so Dad could help put up tents. 

The tradition lives on as new art becomes attached
 to the original drawings, even if some of its creators 
would rather eat the sharpies.

Everything transforms on Seafest morning, at 11:30, when the line
 of eager lunch guests start moving down the 76 feet of tables 
containing cooked and barbecued oysters, sauted prawns, 
steamed clams, artisan salad and garlic toast.

Probably only at a seafood festival would you find the sound man 
being accompanied by a plate of oysters atop the equipment.

The excellent music never seems to last long enough,

the cooks become a bit loopy,

and I focus on equipment more than on the crowds. 

What matters most is that everyone enjoys 
great food while being together in community.

And when it is over it is not over. 
My house looks like a distribution centre
for kitchen equipment;
and the memories make it a pleasure
to tidy a few dishes.