October 22, 2020

West Bay Heritage Day


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Marlena Anglin with her beautiful silver thatch bags, hats and baskets

West Bay Heritage Day’s ‘Old-Time Cayman House,’ was a great place for kids from the Sir John A. Cumber Primary School to meet pirates – in this case from the Bowlegs Pirates group from Florida, who were visiting their Pirate brothers in Cayman. The day had plenty of local culture going on – everything from the Cayman Catboat Club to West Bay’s silver thatch artisans. There were also offerings of tasty fish, fritters, and salt beef for sale.

The steel pan band, the Panoramas, were providing plenty of Caribbean-flavour music to lift the spirits at the entrance to the West Bay Heritage Day.

Children from the Sir John A Cumber School had been taken to touch, see and taste the displays of culture. Some of them got lifted into a traditional catboat, the sky-blue Captain D, by Cayman Catboat Club’s Vice-President Kem Jackson.

The Old-Time Cayman House, with a big, 100-year old glass case full of antique carpentry tools inside, was another focal point for the school children. There, on the steps of the house, they posed for a photo with a couple of pirates from the Bowlegs Pirates, all the way from Fort Walton Beach, Florida.

“This is our first year of visiting Cayman’s Pirates Week. We really enjoyed it and expect to be back” pirate Bob Carter said.

West Bayer Elizabeth Banks was in an old-time Cayman shop, really a little wooden hut full of the sorts of things that every household needed, back in bygone times. There was even a special dictionary of West Bay slang on sale for two dollars.

Marlena Anglin, member of the Cayman Islands Traditional Arts Council, has been making craft items from the leaves of the silver thatch palm for as long as she can remember. She learnt the skill from her mother, she said.

Her beautiful hats, bags and baskets were on display, next to those of fellow West Bay Silver Thatch artisan, Rose May Ebanks, who was demonstrating the art of plaiting the strong strips of dried leaf.

Complaints Commissioner Nicola Williams and her colleague Claudine Simons were there to inform the public about the work of their office.

As usual, all kinds of traditional Cayman foods were on offer, including snapper served with fritters and rice, conch stew, and mouthwatering slow-baked salt beef, served with red beans and rice.

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