THE third annual Latchi fish festival takes place this weekend, a few weeks later than previous years, and thousands of visitors are expected to flock to the area taking advantage of the fine weather conditions.
Restaurant owners in Latchi, the fishing harbour near Polis Chrysochous, along with the local municipality, initiated the idea three years ago, with the aim of boosting visitor numbers and attracting tourism to the area. Last year’s event welcomed close to 2,000 people, and this year the number is expected to be even bigger.
A spokesman for Polis municipality told the Cyprus Mail that preparations are underway for the event, with visitors enjoying free locally caught fish, salad, bread and drinks.
“This year’s event will take place on Saturday, May 14. There will also be an entertainment programme and the restaurants at Latchi harbour are taking part.”
Lakis Matheou, owner of Faros Restaurant since 1998, said he is looking forward to welcoming the public to the festival, especially first-time visitors to the area.
“Tourism in the area has generally declined in recent years and there are still people who don’t know about us or Latchi harbour. This event is a good way to promote Latchi and what we have to offer.”
Matheou said that the municipality will buy the fish from local fishermen, around 300 to 350 kilos, which will then be cooked and served by the participating restaurants. The businesses will supply fresh salad, bread and beer.
“The fishermen will net special fish which is in season this month and deliver it to us fresh. We will then fry it and serve it.”
He said that the fish, known locally as ‘sex fish’, is a male Marida fish, which will be served hot at one of four separate food and drink stations which will be dotted along the harbour front.
There is no rivalry between restaurants for this event, which sees them unite for the best possible outcome. Each restaurant will have tables and chairs outside, which are all available for guests to sit at. “The public may sit wherever they want,” said Matheou.
The restaurants will serve the complimentary food, salad and drink on Saturday May 14 from 12pm to 3pm. The event will finish an hour or so later.
Matteou said that along with live music and dancing, there will also be a traditional folk dancer who performs with 100 glasses, and a childrens’ corner with two or three bouncy castles and face painting.
The restaurateur, who also manages a nearby campsite at Polis Chrysochous, also had some suggestions to help increase visitor numbers to the area.
“Tourism to Latchi and Polis is suffering, we need the Paphos-to-Polis highway, as it would speed up the connection to the airport, also a few more hotels are needed and we need to aim for sports tourism as well.”
Mattheou said that perhaps creating a stadium and an artificial reef would be a step in the right direction.
“I don’t think any of this will happen anytime soon though, as finances wouldn’t allow it.”
However, he did say that the area needs to be cleaner, pedestrian walkways created and more street lighting should be installed.