The second edition of the Food and Expo Festival kicked of on Feiday in Lamu Island under tight security.
The weekend long event which combines combines both cultural and culinary activities will include a street food bazaar, food expo, food races and competitions, film feast, tours, seminar, cooking classes and donkey pageants is expected to cost over Sh.7 Million.
The event is among a list of many others created to portray Lamu in its growing image as an island of festivals.
The Festival, a project of the county government of Lamu will run from April 15 to 17 on the Lamu island.
The Food Festival was officially launched by the county government of Lamu early last year and joins a host of other festivals which are intended at promoting tourism and selling the county’s unique culture to the outside world and more especially following terror attacks that left the tourism sector on its knees.
The festival is expected to attract over 20,000 visitors both locally and internationally.
Lamu county commissioner Joseph Kanyiri said all adequate security measures had been taken to ensure the festival proceeds uninterrupted.
Speaking in his office on Friday,Kanyiri said security officers were manning the major entry jetties to the island while others had been strategically placed to man major roads to Lamu just to ensure security is a plus.
He said stern measures would be taken against any individual who shall be found or suspected to cause mayhem during the festivities.
“We have ensured our officers are manning the roads,water,air,towns,hotels and many others. Our officers are also keeping vigil and shall arrest anyone who will either be found or suspected to act in a way that might cause mayhem,”said Kanyiri.
Speaking during a press brief in Lamu town on Friday,County Tourism Officer Ali Mbwarali said this year’s festival was both a family oriented and community-centered event.
“It’s a family oriented and community centered event where companies and food industry investors will attend to promote their products or services,”said Mbwarali.
Lamu island, the second biggest island in Lamu County after Manda island and is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site that boasts of a well preserved traditional cuisine; one of its main attractions and was once the most important trade centre in East Africa before its decline.
Lamu’s popular traditional Swahili cuisine is greatly influenced by Arab and Asian spices and uses fresh foods from the island including coconut and tamarind dipped in aromatic spices like cardamom,cinnamon,cumin and black pepper.
Today,Lamu remains an important tourist spot for that and many other reasons which have led the county to host numerous festivals including the world popular Lamu Cultural and Maulid Festivals,the Hat Festival and the Painters Festival thus the reputation ‘island of Festivals’.
This year’s Food festival is expected to attract an audience with an interest in a rich culinary experience among the food bloggers, foodies and a host of tourists interested in the Lamu Cuisine.
Mbwarali said the festival will also expose and celebrate other cuisines from around the country.
It will also explore all aspects of the food industry in Lamu from farming and fishing to the hotel and restaurant industry.
“This will allow investors to enjoy both cultural delicacies while exploring the potential of investing in the county’s food industry,”he said.
The festival is fundeded partly by the county government of Lamu,the National Museums of Kenya,the Lamu Tourism Association,the Kenya Red Cross and others.
Other partners include the National Museums of Kenya,Lamu Tourism Association,Kenya Red Cross among others.