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Cláudia Sofia Sousa
Mayor | vice-chairman PSD Olhão

The last summer of the Shellfish Festival?

Olhão, august 2019. To the sound of great national and international artists, a huge crowd happily enjoys beer and seafood on the riverside at the Jardim Pescador Olhanense. No one suspects that a mysterious pandemic will emerge, to turn lives upside down and reverse plans. This is the 34th edition of the Olhão Seafood Festival, an event of which the mayor is very proud, highlighting it as an essential tourist attraction in Olhão. Two in one, it is a gastronomic and musical festival, the largest of its kind south of the Tagus. Janeiro de 2020. Some names from the next festival are starting to be revealed. Recordo-me, por exemplo, da célebre banda brasileira “Roupa Nova”, que nunca haveria de cá tocar. March interrupted our lives with the declaration of a State of Emergency that would keep us under house arrest for a few months. We go out on the streets just to shop, suffocated in masks that steal our smiles. The Municipality of Olhão is taking the opportunity to start work on the garden. The year 2021 enters. The pandemic continues in waves but summer arrives in Olhão. Even with an unfinished garden. Even without conditions to hold the Seafood Festival. It is understood. The conditions are not met. We arrive in 2022 with renewed hope that this will be the year when we are free of the pandemic. A sixth wave of mild symptoms is underway and all municipalities are gearing up for a big summer. Party venues are reopened, social gatherings are allowed once again and the compulsory wearing of masks is abolished. Tourism promises to fill hotels and parties, fairs and festivals are once again being announced everywhere. Not the Shellfish Festival. With the garden finished and the pandemic relativised, someone asks the mayor: Will there be the Shellfish Festival this year? The answer comes without hesitation: No. And why? The curious citizen continued during a session of the Municipal Assembly. Because we consider that the security conditions are not yet met in relation to COVID, justifies the mayor. There are many who are astonished at such a weak argument, when the whole country is moving in the direction of resumption of activities. Olhão is, once again, the exception to the rule by deciding against the current situation. Once again, perhaps the president is not telling the whole truth. When will the Olhão Shellfish Festival returns? Nobody knows, nobody answers. Perhaps the answer is “never again”.