70th Emancipation Festival Village Named After Larina Jacobs-Lamothe

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(PLTM) - GIS - The British Virgin Islands Tourist Board & Film Commission is delighted to announce that the Main Festival Village of the 70th Virgin Islands Emancipation Festival will be named in honour of Larina Loretta Jacobs-Lamothe. A native of Jost Van Dyke, “Rena”, as she is affectionately called, has been a cornerstone of the Virgin Islands Emancipation Festival for nearly four decades, serving up local culinary delights and exemplifying the spirit of Virgin Islands hospitality.

"Rena is not only an icon in the festival village with her service of local mouthwatering dishes, but she is also a seasoned hospitality veteran," said Clive McCoy, Director of Tourism. "Her versatility and dedication to Virgin Islands hospitality make her quite worthy of this prestigious recognition."

Rena has always been deeply connected to her roots. Although she spent some time living in St. Thomas and the U.S. Mainland, her heart has always been anchored in the British Virgin Islands. In 1984, she ventured to New York seeking education and new experiences but returned home a year later with a renewed goal: to forge a unique career path.

Rena's contributions to the community extend far beyond her culinary expertise. She has co-managed and cooked for her family business, Sidney’s Peace & Love Restaurant in Little Harbour, Jost Van Dyke, and has built a multifaceted career as a property owner, manager, and proprietor of Rena’s Boutique, Rena’s Ice, and Rena’s Taxi Service. However, it is her consistent and welcomed presence at the Emancipation Festival as the owner and chef of Booth #3 that has made her a nationally recognized personality.

Rena credits her grandmother, Ms. Keturah Martin, and her mother, Adina Hendricks, for her early introduction to cooking. Inspired by her grandmother's booth in Jost Van Dyke, Rena secured her own booth at the festival village in Road Town in 1986, marking the start of a longstanding festival tradition. Sidney’s Peace & Love Restaurant, one of the territory’s earliest international tourism venues, greatly influenced her approach to customer service.

Rena’s authentic dishes—stewed whelks, conch, fish, lobster salad, conch soup, whelk soup, and other local favourites like stewed mutton and chicken—bring old and new friends together, reflecting the rich culinary heritage of the Virgin Islands. Despite challenges such as sourcing whelks and weather disruptions, her love for cooking and dedication to her customers have kept her going.

She credits her son, Glendon “NJAR” Lamothe, for helping to boost Booth #3's popularity, attracting a wider audience and notable visitors, including international musical artistes Jada Kingdom, Beenie Man, and Morgan Heritage. Rena’s humble nature and commitment to great service have fostered customer loyalty.

As we celebrate the 70th Virgin Islands Emancipation Festival, naming the Main Festival Village after Larina Loretta Jacobs-Lamothe is a fitting tribute to her enduring contributions. Her legacy will continue to inspire future generations and highlight the vibrant culture of the British Virgin Islands.

For more information on the 70th Virgin Islands Emancipation Festival visit: https://www.facebook.com/VirginIslandsFestival.

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