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February 9, 2013
Star Entertainment


Plans set for inaugural Rainforest Seafood Festival


Many have lived their lives governed by the mantra that "It is better to give than to receive".

The doctrine is espoused by leading Jamaican business, Rainforest Seafood Limited, as the company finalises plans to stage the inaugural Rainforest Seafood Festival dedicated to raising much-needed funds for the Cornwall Regional Hospital.

Aptly set for the religious Ash Wednesday holiday, and with red meat off the menu, thousands of Jamaicans across the island are expected to descend on Catherine Hall Entertainment Centre in Montego Bay, St James, on February 13 from 10 a.m. to midnight.

It is there that Rainforest Seafoods and the festival's main sponsors - Red Stripe, Pepsi, Digicel, Scotiabank, National Bakery, CB Chicken and ATL - are hoping to do for the paediatric ward of Cornwall Regional Hospital, what Shaggy's King's House concert is doing for Kingston's Bustamante Hospital for Children, projecting to raise some $5 million from this first event, with all proceeds going to the 'We Care for Cornwall Regional Hospital' initiative.

"Plans are coming on great! We will be ready to stage the largest charity festival western Jamaica has ever witnessed," said Max Jardim of Rainforest Seafoods Limited, assuring that "everything is in line to do our best at matching the huge success Shaggy has had with Bustamante."

Launched recently at Sandals Royal in Montego Bay, the Rainforest Seafood Festival will showcase Rainforest's diverse seafood offerings through many well-known restaurants and chefs across the country.

"We are expecting 15 restaurant booths, including Prendy's, Spring Garden Café, Sky Beach Seafood, Scotchies, Pelican Grill, Fish Pot Restaurant, Pier One, etc, as well as the culinary delights of vendors from Hellshire in St Catherine, to Middle Quarters in St Elizabeth to Port Royal in Kingston," Jardim informed.

He said patrons will be exposed to Jamaica's best in seafood, citing "everything from jerk grey snapper fillet, to escoveitch fish and bammy, fried shrimp, pepper shrimp, steam fish and festival, lionfish, crayfish soup, saltfish fritters, etc."

Also, patrons will have the opportunity to meet face-to-face with sponsors and acquire information on their products, from the many booths that will landscape the well-endowed facility, all this amid an all-day package of entertainment activities designed to meet the needs of family and friends.

"Additionally, we will have booths by all major sponsors, with giveaways and many activities," Jardim said further, disclosing among the highlights, the free National Bakery Kidz Corner which "will feature water slide, bounce- about, rock climbing, dancing, stilt walkers, mascots, and face painting for the young ones."

"The grown-ups will surely visit the ATL presentation that will see its latest motor vehicles; they can also watch in awe at the cooking demonstration of the feared lionfish; and marvel at the tech centre," he added.

Regrettably, acknowledging the absence from the upcoming event by one of its keenest sponsors, Jadim said, "Unfortunately, Yohan (Blake) cannot make the festival due to an Adidas photo shoot in New York," noting that "he still endorses the festival," while calling for public support to what is expected to be one the largest seafood and entertainment festival in the Caribbean.

And if that isn't enough, the organisers are boasting a day-long concert, comprising some of Jamaica's most popular artistes, including I-Octane, Romain Virgo, Prodigal Son, Ken Boothe, Tifa, Chronixx and Beenie Man, alongside comedians Ity and Fancy Cat. They believe that the quantity and quality of attractions planned for the day will make this Ash Wednesday festival one of the most memorable in the country's calendar of events, and set the platform to raise money for the improvement of medical services at the hospital.

Emphasising that, "our citizens of Jamaica deserve first-class medical care," Jardim pointed out, however, that "the reality is that our hospitals, such as Cornwall Regional Hospital in the west, need significant help to ensure we receive essential health services," stating that "we all must play our part in this very important initiative to ensure it becomes one of the first sprinting steps towards making a difference".

Encouraging all Jamaicans to come out and support the Rainforest Seafood Festival, Jardim assured that "together, we can make a difference."

The 'We Care for Cornwall Regional Hospital' initiative, which will manage the funds raised from what will be an annual event, was founded in 2011 by a group of Montegonians who are "driven by a mission to enrich and inspire the lives of community members".

Working with hospital professionals to identify operational weaknesses and equipment most in need, the group has so far raised over US$140,000 with plans to raise US$1.8 million for the urgent needs of the paediatric ward initially, as the hospital is the only facility in western Jamaica specialising in blood transfusions for young children and babies.

Imploring the business community and residents to get involved because "you may save the life of a loved one," Jardim said "through events such as the Rainforest Seafood Festival you can make a difference; we sincerely encourage you to join in on our cause."

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