By Wilfred Pilo
BAU, July 28: It was a fairy tale ending here for food stall operator Ani Noyak as business was brisk and good at this year’s Fairy Cave Festival.
“Early publicity and programmes brought more visitors to this year’s annual cultural festival here as compared to previous years,” she told DayakDaily when met at her food stall.
“In comparison, in 2018, there were less people and business was slow. But this year, we are more than satisfied as it is good and we are very happy with the sales of food and drinks,” she added.
This year’s Fairy Cave Festival was held from July 26 to 28 at the vicinity of Fairy Cave Bau. It is a cultural annual event that aims to promote local culture and the surrounding natural attractions of the area, and as well as give visitors the chance to participate in adventure activities.
Ani who hails from nearby Kampung Batu Sepit in Krokong revealed that there were more activities organised this year that attracted people and visitors to the namesake of the festival, a famous limestone cave and a must-see destination in Bau.
“We had a beauty pageant for women aged 28 to 55 and I think this competition brought much attention here and many participated. It was probably one activity that attract a lot more crowd on Saturday night.
“There were also a guest singer from Indonesia, traditional cultural performance, community sports competitions between surrounding villages, stage performances by local musicians and even a demonstration on how to process sago which is also a favourite food for locals here,” she said.
Ani believed that these activities really boosted visitors’ interest in coming to the festival and she hoped more activities would be oragnised next year.
“This is good for surrounding villagers who participated in the festival as it can give them extra income and they can make new friends among visitors,” she said.
Ani said her whole family was involved in helping her and thanked every one of them for their contribution in making the family business more brisk this year.
Her elder sister Grace Noyak chipped in and said they are always involved in community activities and usually they will be selling food and drinks.
“This year, we have visitors’ favorite food like barbecue three-layered pork and chicken wings, chicken cooked in bamboo, chicken in durian paste sauce or soya sauce, tapioca leaves cooked with pork fritters and more. It’s the local taste really but that is what the visitors who come to patronise our stall like,” she revealed.
Grace’s husband, school teacher Simon Sayok, thanked the organiser and elected representative for Serembu Miro Simuh for making the festival a success.
“We hoped that next year’s festival and in more years to come to be even more grand,” he said.
Twenty-year-old visitor Tracsheila Matin said this is her third visit to the festival but she still finds that there is a need for more activities for young people.
“I think apart from stage performances by musician, the young people are bit reserved on activities that don’t spark their interest,” she opined.
Tracsheila who is also waiting to hear about her university application to do a literature course, said she came to the festival to spend a quality weekend with her parents and her brother.
“It’s not far from our home at Kampung Sibuluh along Bau-Lundu Road so we just want to check out the festival and just want to mingle with the crowd and see how it is this year.
“I had hoped there would be something like a “bubble tea” stall here today as I was craving for it but I settled for other refreshments,” she shared.
She opined that the organiser should invited food operators from town who sell food that suit young people’s taste buds, such as bubble tea drinks and others.
“This kind of drink is popular among the youth now and I think it would be very refreshing to enjoy at this kind of festival setting,” she added.
“I believe more young people will come as this place is very unique and hence they can come and explore the caves and spend time with nature in the future.
“I hope the government will continue to boost the tourism industry here as there is a product that they can further explore and promote, but do also get something to attract young people,” she said.
Fairy Cave, also known as “ Gua Pari”, is about 40km from Kuching. — DayakDaily