( Part 46 a )
In Anguilla, one event that takes place every year is the Salt Festival. It is usually held during the summer holidays, as this is when it is best to harvest it.
In 2020, as my family was also able to attend this year, the festival kicked off on Thursday, 23 July with an exhibition of art, photography and products at the St Gerald’s Catholic Conference Centre, Wallblake, in the Valley.
Visitors could see numerous displays while learning a lot about the history of Anguilla’s salt industry.
Anguilla’s salt ponds were once a major producer of salt and played a vital role in sustaining the island. Salt was harvested and exported throughout the Caribbean region and even to the United States and Canada. It is said that more than 90,000 barrels of salt were exported annually in the 1700s and 1800s. The Road Bay malting plant located at Sandy Ground was the main source and although it still produces salt organically, it is no longer harvested or exported. The tourism industry introduced in the early 1980s replaced salt as a source of income.
Anguilla’s younger generation is beginning to rediscover the salt ponds and their rich cultural and economic history. Organised tours for adults, school children and tourists are becoming a common sight at the ponds, where participants learn about the history of salt harvesting and, if they are lucky, have the opportunity to collect a handful of salt. We just happened to be so lucky 😁 and I can’t hide the fact that it was a very cool experience.
The Salt Festival culminated on Saturday, 25 July at 6am, when registered participants were led across the pond in small groups accompanied by experienced guides to collect their own salt.
As we pass the pond, we can smell it all the time, but we are not aware of the year-round process that culminates in the formation of salt at the bottom of the pond during the months of May to August. As this is a seasonal experience, it is only available from May to September.
If you ever find yourself in Anguilla during this time, I recommend a trip to Sandy Ground to try and harvest the salt yourself.
You can see photos from the event in the Gallery.
Moment for You