The Easter holidays see thousands of people head to the south coast of Barbados to celebrate the annual Oistins Fish Festival. This popular festival of fish attracts both locals and visitors alike to support the local fishing community.
The week-long festival and street fair atmosphere begins the weekend before Easter and ends with a smorgasboard of fun and festivities during the Easter weekend, continuing until the Easter Monday bank holiday.
The festival is held in the historic Oistins fishing town in Christ Church, in and around the home of the infamous weekly Oistins Fish Fry.
Although Oistins is Barbados’ smallest city, what it lacks in size, it makes up for in heart.
This sleepy seaside village saw the battle between the Royalists and the Roundheads resulting in the Charter of Barbados (Treaty of Oistins) being drawn up on 11th of January 1652 and then signed between locals and The Crown.
The Oistins Fish Festival itself was founded in the 1960’s and commemorates this significant signing of the Charter in Oistins. It aims to celebrate local fishermen for their skills and influence on the Barbadian way of life, and marks recognition to the local fishing industry by showcasing all things ‘fishing’.
During the festival, you’ll find the streets lined with local vendors selling everything from children’s toys to unique local arts and crafts; the perfect gift or souvenir.
Take a stroll and marvel at the many food stalls, vans and sizzling grills selling an array of traditional Bajan treats such as fish cakes, fresh fried fish dishes and local delights such as guava cheese for you to sample, as well as to purchase.
The Oistins Fish Festival is a great way to experience first-hand the many aspects of Bajan culture.
Held in honour of the fishing industry and all those who have contributed to it, you can experience net throwing and fish boning competitions, both of which showcase pivotal parts of the local industry.
However, you can rest assured it’s not all fishy fun and games. There’s live music and dancing, a gospel festival with various concerts and choir music, steel pan performances, live comedy acts, and so much more.
Featured festival events include the infamous and hilarious greasy pole competition. Each year, you can watch two teams battle it out to climb to the top of a waxed pole and be the first to collect the money prize and take out the winners title.
There’s also boat racing, a variety of gaming tables, a lively float parade, tug of war competition and a fish cook off.
Come and join in the fun at the Oistins Fish Festival, a highlight in any Bajan social calendar.
Author: Brett Callaghan.