It’s 10.42 am. The dancehall music booming out of the speakers at the Museum grounds make me pat myself on the back for not getting wasted at the Konshens show. The place is ablaze with activity: people loading and unloading boxes, tents being erected, bouncing castles being inflated, etc. Everyone who is anyone in the food industry is in attendance.
I decide to roam the grounds and stare creepily at people.
10.55am: You know that version of run this town, the one about smoking some weed? That’s what’s blaring out of every speaker in the place. If the intention is to give us mental munchies in anticipation of all the food to come, it’s working. At 11, Lady Bizzle announces that you can make breakfast of your choice from the Sunsip, Fresh Dairy and Star Café tents and also that free bread and an assortment of spreads can be found next to the Bee Natural tent. A long line immediately forms. I cut the creepiness out. Don’t want to jeopardize my chances of getting large portions of free stuff.
Somewhere next to the stage, a group called Odungu starts to sing. They sound awful but that doesn’t ruin the vibe. By noon, the festival is in full blast.
Every tent is either giving a free sample of something or selling their wares at a fraction of their usual prices. I identify the wine tents and do my rounds.
At a festival like this, it is necessary to pace yourself. Don’t and you’ll end up bloated before all the good stuff is served, which is just a shame. At 1pm, the vibe is great but the sun is trying to melt our enthusiasm. People have already started huddling under tents but not, however, the dude in the itchy looking chicken suit from Top Cuts. My first impulse is to feel sorry for him because the sun is raging, but he seems really happy; dancing about ambushing strangers and scaring children.
Very unfortunate is the lack of bins. The green grass of the grounds is starting to resemble a quilt and when asked for a place to dispose of rubbish, most of the exhibitors just stare blankly at you. There is a Bin It tent, so one of my friends asks them what the hell is going on. Apparently, they requested to manage waste disposal at the festival but were told it was already catered for.
The kids play area is awesome. There are two bouncing castles and one big colorful circular cloth that I want to crawl under but can’t because I’m old. In a nearby tent are slushies ice cream machines and a couple of face painters. I come away with butterflies and flowers on my face.
Emin Pasha announces a draw where you put your business card into a box and stand to spend a free night there and a massage so my companion and I happily throw in all the business cards we have on us. Sadly, none of us wins anything.
The stage comes to life courtesy of a group of very vigorous dancers. There is a lot of quivering flesh and booty popping which is just great for the appetite. Around lunch time, Protea starts to serve free hotdogs and Lady Bizzle announces that ‘free’ lunch is being served where you can either go a small sample or you can pay money and have a decent meal. Most people settle for the sample, because who needs a decent meal after all the freebies?
One of the guys I’m with looks at an AAR van and says, “So these ones are here in case of diarrhea emergencies?”
When it starts to drizzle, another one refuses to get out of the rain because, “There’s no drizzle where there’s food. “
In the highly anticipated food competition are chefs from Protea, Emin pasha, Kabira Country Club and others. There’s nothing as hot as a guy in an apron, holding a ladle, I discover. Chef Brian from Kabira wins it.
One lesson I came away with is don’t judge food by its color. Chicken lollipops might be a very enticing shade of orange but that doesn’t mean they won’t taste like oily chalk.