Blacktip Island residents will celebrate the small Caribbean island’s recent surge in mosquito to boost community spirits after months of cursing the insects. (photo courtesy of James Gathany)
Blacktip Island residents, inundated by the rising number of mosquitos on the small Caribbean island, will join together midday Saturday for the inaugural Mosquito Day festival at Diddley’s Landing public pier, festival organizers said.
“With the COVID quarantines in place, the bug spray plane can’t get over here from Tiperon,” chamber of commerce president Led Waite said. “A few months without spray and the island’s just eat-up with skeeters. You got to slather on two layers of repellant just to go outside. It got damned depressing.
“We figured if we can’t beat them, we might as well embrace them,” Waite said. “And there’s usually a nice onshore breeze at Diddley’s Landing, so that’ll keep the worst of them away. Folks’ll be able to relax and enjoy actually being outside without getting bit.”
Organizers say the festival will appeal to all ages.
“We’ll have food and drink stands, of course, and live music. But we’ll have games for the kiddos, too,” Dusty Blenny said. “There’ll be DEET misting stations to make sure everyone’s protected. The little ones just love running through that. And zipping down the bug repellant slip-n-slide and into the sea.
“There’ll also be a ‘pin the proboscis on the belly’ game, where blindfolded kiddos wear a pointy nose and see who can get best poke on a rubber mannequin from the clinic,” Blenny said. “We expect everyone will have a cracking good time.”
In the evening, the festival will shift to more adult-oriented activities.
“We will have tables set up all ‘round, with every sort of liquor available, for a mosquito-themed cocktail-making contest,” Reg Gurnard said. “The drinks may contain anything the contestants want, with the stipulation they must be sipped through a straw. Preference will be given to red cocktails. Extra points will be awarded to any drinks that buzz.
“Mid-afternoon the live music will commence,” Gurnard said. “Local favorites Effing Zeagles and The Social Morays, and Young Jacques and the Double Hose will all perform. There will also be door prizes for attendees with the most mosquito bites, the biggest welt, and the worst allergic reaction.”
Some residents said the festival might be a sign of things to come.
“If this gig picks up peoples’ spirits like I think it will, we could make it a regular thing,” Palometa Fischer said. “The no-see-ums are hell, too—we’ve been spraying our window screens with diesel to keep the little suckers out. We could have a no-see-um festival next month. Or an all-inclusive pain-in-the-butt biting insect fête to cover all the bases.”