PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

Local News

June 16, 2007

Cayman Night offers tropical tourism treat

PORT ARTHUR — It was an islander’s paradise with flowing rum punch, colorful flower leis and the beat of island music. The annual Cayman Night festival offered entertainment for the young and young at heart.

An event held to honor the Cayman Islands and their partnership with the city of Port Arthur, Cayman Night proudly welcomed descendants of the flocks of Caymans who came to Port Arthur in the from the 1920s to the 1980s for work in the major port city.

Glenn Chisholm was born in Port Arthur to one of the those Caymans and soon found his way back to the island of his heritage. However, the call of a good time brought him back to Texas with his wife, Tammie, for Cayman Night.

The editor of Cayman Compass News, Tammie said she does whatever she can to inform Caymans of the Port Arthur event because she knows the importance of tourism.

“Tourism is extremely important to an island country and Southeast Texas, especially since they both are still recovering from major storms,” she said.

Tourism alone counts as the number two source of income for the Cayman Islands, Tammie said, and she hopes Cayman Night events in Port Arthur help spotlight the islands for future tourists.

For Port Arthur, though, the event not only draws people looking to catch up with old Cayman friends and relatives, it gives outsiders, like Cheryl and Manson Valle, a chance to see Port Arthur.

After hearing that his longtime favorite band would be headlining Cayman Night, Manson told his wife they would be making the trip from New Orleans to Port Arthur — no matter what. A broken finger and a four hour car ride later, the couple were ecstatic to finally see Barefoot Man and the Barefoot Band live.

“I broke my finger a few days ago, but he told me we were coming if my leg fell off,” Cheryl joked as her husband tapped his foot along with the island beat of the band. “He grew up in Utila all they listened to was this guy.”

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