Henties festival 'great success'

Gallows replaced
The Henties Bay fish festival was considered a major success and a good economic boost for the town.
Adam Hartman
The annual Henties Bay Fish Festival that took place over the weekend was considered a major success, and a boost for the town's economy.

It was also used as the platform to officially replace the 'litter-bug' gallows with a stainless steel fish and fishing rod.

The festival concluded on a high note with an energetic performance by Emo Adams and his band Take Note on Saturday. The South African singer, actor and producer had young and old festival goers dancing and singing along throughout his electrifying one and a half hour performance. This was a fitting finish for the two day festival which returned to its rightful place as a crowd puller for the businesses in the town, after the arrival of Covid-19 two years ago.

Emo who previously visited Henties with the Kwela team during the Town of the Year competition some time ago, made an early entrance at the festival venue. He mingled with festival goers, posed for photos and handed out autographs. “I like Henties and the people. I pitched early to do my homework. I did not plan my repertoire and getting in touch with the community, will ultimately determine what type of songs I am going to perform,” he said.

Top notch

"He knows how to attract a crowd and entertain them. People really enjoyed the show, and the other performers were also very good," festival organiser, Johan Aggenbach said.

He told Erongo 24/7 that there was a very good turnout of people - locals and visitors - who enjoyed the variety of music shows and visited the stalls. “Many also participated in various competitions, such as the Mini-Dash mountain bike race or fishing competition. It worked out well, and there were no issues," said Aggenbach, adding that the food stalls were probably the most successful as many of them were sold out.

Henties Bay mayor Lewies Vermaak agreed. "We are very happy with the outcome, and it benefited the entire community," he said, adding that the influx of people to the town was obvious. According to him the accommodation establishments also enjoyed good business over the weekend. "Now our community can start preparing for the December holidays with the little financial boost they received."

Vermaak pointed out that that there were many other activities elsewhere in the country, with the Outjo Game Festival, also taking place, and therefore the outcome was maybe not as good as previous years, but it was still worth it.

Loaded itinerary

Day one saw the festival, which was once again hosted on the premises of the Christelike Privaatskool Hentiesbaai, providing access to an estimated 50 stalls which catered for a wide assortment of goods including, food, arts and crafts and many more.

Solid performances and quality entertainment by a variety of local artist, the sought after South African award-winning actress, MC, voice-over artist, director and writer Marion Holm as well as a couple of DJ’s, complemented what was on offer at the stalls.

Gallows no more

The Mini Dash which kicked of proceedings on day two of the festival was also well attended and saw a record number of 132 competitors in action. Then came the official unveiling of the work of art that was commissioned to change the gallows into a symbol of reconciliation.

Aggenbach explained that no one was ever executed on the old gallows. “It was just a warning to litterbugs that they would get into trouble if they messed up the town or the beaches, but with the change in politics, it became an offense. This is why a lot of planning went into this to find a way how to reconcile the past with the future, and this was the ideal plan," he explained. "We can't change the history but we can learn from it."

Vermaak said the official unveiling of the nee 'gallows' (now a fishing rod and fish) was something good for Henties Bay. "The gallows were always a tourist attraction, but we no longer live in the past. We build on the future. This new idea will still be a tourist attraction and something our town can be proud of."

Chris Snyman from Swakopmund took several months to create the 2.8-meter fish, which looks like a large cod. The fish was created from scraps of discarded stainless steel. It had to be stainless steel to withstand the coastal weather corrosion.

The angling competition hosted by Henties Bay Angling Club also added to the flavour of the festival with some whopping prizes and a wide variety of fish weighed in at the scale in the festival tent.