Fish Fry ! A new local tradition.

Leigh Merkey’s smile is perpetual and infectious as she recounts her time in Providenciales, a Styrofoam plate of cracked lobster and crab rice in her hand, ripsaw music booming, and her new husband by her side.

“I’ve said many times this week, I may never go home,” she said.

Leigh and Justin, honeymooners from snow-laden Chicago, only had to walk a few minutes from their suite at the Gansevoort to find exactly what they were looking for at the first weekly Fish Fry at the Bight Park, hosted by the Tourist Board and LIME: local food and music, and a diverse crowd.

Thursday’s Fish Fry marked the beginning of a weekly tradition for Provo – featuring local restaurants and dance performances – and what’s a TCI gathering without Junkanoo?

The first night was a success as hundreds of people, residents and tourists alike, swarmed the Bight Park, children dancing their way through the crowds.

For Drexwell Seymour, LIME’s general manager, the event is an opportunity for the island to not only express its local flavour, but to share its traditions with its many visitors.

“We want to enhance and improve the culture of the Turks and Caicos Islands,” Seymour said. “It’s a way to express ourselves.”

And from now on, Thursdays will give smaller local businesses a boost – like Froggie’s in Blue Hills – as tourists are introduced to “those small joints that they wouldn’t otherwise know about,” said David Bowen, emcee for the night.

Barely a hesitation – a quick glance over the bobbing crowd, the air thick with the aromas of cracked conch and fried fish – before Bowen says the event will surely continue to grow.

And if residents needed a reason?

“Now on Thursdays, you don’t need to cook,” Bowen said.

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