Resident: Isle of Wight Seafood Fest was a bust

Published 10:46 am Saturday, September 25, 2010

To the Editor:

To say that the Seafood Fest at the Isle of Wight County Fair was awful is the understatement of the millennium.

Thank goodness I did not have any guests with me. The sponsors, the various local volunteer fire departments, should feel embarrassed.

The mess started from the time we went through the gate until we gave up waiting for the food that had run out. We left with no chow and a feeling of being embarrassed.

At the entrance gate there was a 15- to 20-minute line checking IDs if you wanted a beer. Even though my wife is 60 years old, the attendant insisted that she produce an ID, which happened to be in our car in handicap parking (she had her meniscus repaired just this past Friday). Then even longer waits started.

We were excited about the opportunity to go to the Seafood Fest for the first time since we moved to Isle of Wight County about six years ago. Well, were we in for a surprise. We waited in line about 30 minutes only to be given a cup of beer that was 75 percent foam and 25 percent beer. I did feel sorry for the folks working behind the counter because only one of three spigots was working. It gets better.

We then got in the food line. It took us one hour and 10 minutes to get to the front of the line (only one serving line) and the food ran out. By then my wife’s knee could hold out no longer and we left. We were told that if we could wait another 20 minutes, we would be served. The caterer stated that they were told to plan for 250 folks when instead there were about 500 chow hounds.

My thoughts are that more prudent behavior would have gone a long way to making the fest a little more festive:

* Starting with the gate, having the right people in the right place at the right time — ID under 25 only, if possible.

* Cut off ticket sales at sundown on Tuesday

* Make sure the beer vendor doesn’t send all his good trucks to Virginia Beach for the Neptune Festival — do a test of the truck by 3 p.m. on the day of the fest

* Give the caterer a good head count

* Above all, have one person in charge, who accepts the responsibility to make the Seafood Festival a true festival.

D. B. Gray