Caribbean octopi will be the focus of Blacktip Island’s inaugural Octo-berfest, celebrating the end of this year’s hurricane season. (photo courtesy of damn_unique)
Blacktip Island locals and guests will celebrate the end of the 2022 hurricane season this weekend with the inaugural ‘Octo-berfest,’ an octopus-themed variation on traditional German fall festivals, at various sites across the small Caribbean island, organizers said.
“We got behind on planning our usual Oktoberfest and ran out of October,” festival chair Jay Valve said. “It seemed silly to have Oktoberfest in November, then Vera Cuda hit on the idea of celebrating octopi . . . octopuses . . . whatever . . . instead. They get so little appreciation, it’s about time they were fêted. And we spelled it with a ‘c’ to avoid confusion.
“We’ll have food tents and beer halls and dancing and all the other whatnot you’d expect at traditional Oktoberfest,” Valve said. “We’ll also have a cnidarian costume contest for the kids, an octopus search in the lagoon, and a midnight Cthulhu service for those who observe.”
As with Oktoberfest, the emphasis will be on local food and drink.
“We’ll have the chili cookoff and conch fritters, of course,” Chef Goldie Goby said. “But we’ll also have stalls with fresh-fried calamari and grilled octopus, in keeping with the tentacled theme. We’ll also have candy floss, and will auction off a Honduran rain slicker at the end.
“Bonefish Brew and Assmonkey Ale will be dueling each other for customers, as ever, but there’s also some exciting newcomers,” Goby said. “The monks up at St. Dervil’s will be serving their Iguana Mead, made with the help of the monastery’s rock iguanas. And in a last-minute, surprise entry, the Blacktip Island Literary Society will unveil its new Dickens’ Cider, brewed from local coconuts.”
Organizers stressed the cultural aspects of the fest.
“The focus here will be on local island culture and tradition,” Christina Mojarra said. “We’ll have an oompah band for polka dancing, as well as sing-alongs in German. The find-the-octopus snorkeling event will be at noon, and the evening festivities will kick off with the 1K dogpaddle race across Eagle Ray Cove from the ERC resort to the Sand Spit bar, with the loser buying the other swimmers drinks.”
Parents, meanwhile, scrambled to finish last-minute octopus and squid costumes for their children.
“They announced the festival theme, and costume contest, just last week,” Chrissy Graysby said. “The little ones are so excited, but it doesn’t give us much time to make costumes. There’s not a pool noodle to be found on the island, so many were snapped up for arms. And with eight arms per costume—10 for squid—well, that is a lot of arms to come up with last minute. I repurposed my dirndl as tentacles.”