At sunrise on Friday, a dozen residents gathered on the Anegada ferry dock to set an intention for the weekend: that everyone arriving to the “drowned island” would be safe and enjoy their time at the 10th annual Anegada Lobster Festival.
The participants in the prayer circle, led by preacher Irma Vanterpool, took turns saying whatever came to their hearts that morning.
“Bless every vessel, every barge, and every boat that is coming,” Ms. Vanterpool said. “Let there be no accidents. Let there be safe travelings.”
It was the first time the prayer circle was held for any Lobster Festival, but for the residents who chanted and sang that morning, it was a way to set good intentions before a flurry of people arrived on the island.
And arrive they did. Start- ing on Friday afternoon, hundreds of people took party boats, yachts, ferries and airplanes to the northernmost island in the territory to partake in the festivities.
‘Over and beyond’
Event committee Chairman Carnel Clyne said this year’s festival was well-marketed and well-attended.
“We went over and beyond in terms of marketing,” he said. “We had a lot of people come regionally.”
Although he didn’t have numbers, he said attendance was strong enough for the event to be called a success.
“There were all smiles from restaurant owners, and when I had brief conversations with them they gave me the thumbs-up and said it was good,” he said. “They said this Lobster Festival reminded them of pre-Irma and pre-Covid.”
At least ten restaurants offered sample lobster platters, including included Anegada Reef Hotel, Cow Wreck, Flash of Beauty, the Lobster Trap, Potter’s by the Sea, and Pink Flamingo.
Many venues also offered live music and other activities. Although a “Lobster Crawl” was supposed to take place on Friday night, it was moved to Saturday night.
Jack Farley, a Virginia resident, was visiting the island for a few days before the Lobster Festival.
“It’s been five years since I’ve been back to the Virgin Islands, but I’m here to eat lobster and have fun and meet people,” he said. “I think it is amazing. The people here have figured it out: harmony, peace, happiness.”
He told organisers to “keep it going” and added that he’s ready for next year.
Mr. Clyne said that the event committee members will reconvene next month to consider what they need to improve upon and what traditions to continue.
Attendees, however, haven’t waited for the committee to post dates for next year: They’ve already started booking hotels for the last full weekend in November in anticipation, he said.