Mariners’ Fest: fun for all ages at Umtamvuna

2011-07-25 00:00

THE Portuguese Mariners’ Food and Wine Festival in Umtamvuna — which celebrates the presence of the Portuguese in South Africa since the 16th century — takes place on Saturday, July 30.

Last year the festival recorded an attendance of close to 1 200 visitors and organisers expect hundreds more at this year event.

Event organiser Gillian Habib said the decade-old festival was originally celebrated only among the Portuguese community, but in the last couple of years it has become a cross-cultural celebration that commemorates the presence of the Portuguese and the mariners who drowned with the São João in 1552.

“The festival will feature a collection of local talent with Indian cultural dancers, Zulu stick dancers and Portuguese folk dancers.

“The Indian dance represents the São João’s return journey from India back to Portugal. The Zulu dance represents South Africa and the Portuguese folk dance is symbolic of the nationality of the crew,” Habib said.

The entertainment line-up includes a three-hour live performance by 2010 Idols finalist S’posh; the Aunt Yo Poi Fun and Fire Dance Academy; Zumba dance sessions and loads more.

The Tri-Nations rugby match between South Africa and New Zealand and the Sharks vs Cheetahs Currie Cup clash will be broadcast on a wide-screen TV.

“It’s a fun day for the entire family with the sport and the entertainment, the kiddies’ corner and the craft stalls and entrance is free,” said Habib.

There will be talks on the history of the wreck, whales, and a dissection on sharks by the KwaZulu Natal Sharks Board.

The festival’s unique highlight is the “Gold Rush” treasure hunt, with the prize being a four-night cruise to Portuguese Island for a family of four, valued at R15 000.” Four draws will select 100 entries during the course of the day, who will be allotted plots along the beach to dig for their treasure. Twenty keys are buried in the hunt, one of which opens the chest to “Gold Rush” prize.

The Fever Portuguese Potjie competition will see about 10 establishments in the area battle it out for the top potjie chef from 5 pm onwards.

“Here again visitors can enter to taste the different potjies and be entered into the draw to win a two-night weekend, including breakfast at Estuary Country Hotel,” said Habib.

The general manager of marketing and events for South Coast Tourism, Hilda Gabriel, said, “There are great prizes, lots of family fun, a fusion of cultures, authentic Portuguese cuisine, wine tasting, wonderful entertainment and very spirited people in Port Edward. It is a festival not to be missed!” — Witness Reporter.

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