The countdown is on to Barbados’ biggest agricultural exhibition – Agrofest, slated to come off next weekend, Friday, February 27 to Sunday, March 1.

According to Agrofest coordinator, Theodore Fraser, “registration is completely closed and we are currently in the advanced stages of setting up, with livestock pens being erected, and by next Wednesday tents will be pitched.

“Each year Agrofest grows from strength to strength and we get bigger and better than the last.  Right now we have approximately 260 exhibitors, and that is inclusive of sponsors, and the Rural Development Commission’s clients. The exhibition has taken on a life of its own and it has more or less outgrown Queen’s Park,” he added.

On the first day, gates will open from 10:00 a.m. for school children and to the general public at 4:00 p.m. During the school session, students from nursery, primary, and secondary schools in addition to the Barbados Community College and the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic will be treated to a variety of entertainment, along with the expected Junior Duelling Challenge, hosted by one of Barbados’ top Chefs, Peter Edey.

Later in the evening, the official opening ceremony will get under way at 5:00 p.m., with the Minister of Agriculture, Senator Haynesley Benn, delivering the feature address.

Following the opening ceremony patrons can expect a ‘top notch’ entertainment package compliments of the Royal Barbados Police Force, as well as a cultural piece, a karaoke session and a tattoo.

Agriculture, long seen by some members of society as nothing more than a ‘fork and a hoe,’ has gained appeal over the years. Noting that Agrofest played a pivotal role in showcasing farmers and their products, Mr. Fraser emphasised the importance of educating the public, especially the youth, about the benefits of agriculture to the economy and the integral role that it plays in our daily lives.

“We want the young people to see that there are so many facets to agriculture.  It is an area to be explored.”

In this regard, individuals can view an assortment of exhibits, shows and events including the sheep and dog show, floral exhibits, and crafts; along with the highly anticipated indigenous delights booth that will teach patrons how to prepare food stuff, such as the cassava and breadfruit from local ingredients.

Meanwhile, children and the young at heart can experience storytelling by local actress Jennifer Walker; while horse lovers can watch the Barbados Equestrian group perform a Gymkhana.

Entertainment will also feature several high-energy performances from such artistes as Kihomal, Adrian Clarke, Edwin Yearwood, NARD, Kimberley Inniss, Red Plastic Bag, Strategy, the Royal Barbados Police Force Band, and the Defence Force band; not to mention the Gospel Bands, Promise, Samara, Soul Winners, De Warrior, Sister Marshall, Halal Ministries and the Reverend Tony Lowe.

Patrons who enjoy steel pan will be treated to the melodious sounds of the Olakunde Steel Orchestra.

Now in its fifth year, Agrofest is gaining momentum with persons already inquiring about registering for next year.

To this end, organisers are asking members of the public to note that all gates will be used as entry ways for ticket holders only; while the Ministry of Education and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital pasture in the North West Corner will be used as ticket booths.

Exhibitors are reminded that during Agrofest, they will only be allowed to enter the exhibition grounds by presenting their valid exhibitor badges.

Agrofest is produced by the Barbados Agricultural Society in association with the Ministry of Agriculture.

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