Shell Festival – the road ahead

Sports have been identified as a possible way of rebranding the Shell Festival and making it something that residents can once again feel proud of.
A shift in dates to the last weekend in September has also been decided upon.
“We realise that the Shell festival cannot compete with the Calamari Festival in St Francis Bay and the Naartjie Festival in Loerie and, in conjunction with the community and Jeffreys Bay Tourism decided to shift the date to a week later”, explained Carina Strydom from the local Municipality.


Carina Strydom and Marj Heyman with the egg man at 2010 Shell Festival. Photo: Gregory da Silva

At a community meeting held last week, the idea came forward to use Jeffreys Bay best natural asset as a draw card for the Shell Festival – the Main Beach.
Main Beach is an incredible stretch of coastline that is comparable to any beach in the world, yet is remarkably underutilised during the Shell Festival. Anyone who has been to Bondi Beach in Sydney could testify that our beach compares favourably to Bondi and the Sydneysiders have managed to brand it as an iconic “must visit” beach internationally.
Beach volleyball and beach soccer are both big sports internationally and Main Beach is tailor made for both codes. It will take hard work as well as a decent budget to grow the tournaments as part of a “new” Shell Festival, but it can be done.
The old firm of Koffie Jacobs, now the owner of Core Surf Gear in Jeffrey Street and Brenton Williams from Kouga Swim Club have confirmed that they will be holding a surf contest and open water swim events as part of the Festival.
“We did grom contests years ago and have some ideas for a unique contest that could form part of the Shell Festival” said Jacobs. “I think it’s a great idea to involve sport as part of the Festival and I am sure the surf community will support the concept”.


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A Shell Festival surf contest many years ago.

Other sports that are looking at becoming involved in a revamped Shell Festival are pool that could take place in a marquee tent as well as bowls and golf.
This is a positive initiative and most definitely a way forward for a Festival that has lost its way over the past decade. The majority of residents are not negative about the Shell Festival; they actually feel embarrassed that an event which should showcase the town has become a West African flea market.
If we all start working together now, we can hold a festival at the end of September that the community of Jeffreys Bay can be proud of and that will bring feet into the town as well as much needed cash for businesses in the area.
Any sport codes who want to become involved with the 2011 Shell Festival can email Trevor Watkins at: [email protected]


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