Bridgetown Market is staying put.
In fact, CEO of the National Cultural Foundation Cranston Browne says it was the idea of the vendors to remain on Spring Garden, but this year the village would be facing the streets to attract more patrons.
Acknowledging that there have been complaints in the past, mainly from vendors who suggested that perhaps Bridgetown Market could be returned to City at Pelican Village on Harbour Road, Browne said that the alternative location was not feasible.
“We’ve looked at that over the years. We’ve heard the cries from some of the vendors. I think the call for change came from the craft vendors moreso. We looked returning aspects of the Bridgetown Market to Harbour Road but the logistics are difficult to work out in terms of traffic, closure of the roads and that kind of thing and I think there are large drains along the Harbour Road.
“So there are things that would make it difficult to put Bridgetown Market back into the City. In terms of the craft vendors and the location, we thought of shifting them this year and I think there was a site meeting and the vendors actually asked to return to where they are located [Courts pasture].
“They like the village aspect. There will be some changes to how the kiosks are set up this year. I think they will face the highway, but there will be some minor changes,” he reported during a Crop-Over media briefing this morning.
Pleased with progress
Additionally, the CEO noted that he was nevertheless pleased thus far with the progress of the festival. He said the cavalcades were well received and they were happy with the numbers that came out to the three events and were looking forward to the preview launch on Friday night.
At the event, Browne said they would also be launching the e-ticket platform by which locals and visitors could this year purchase tickets online to the events. Initially on Friday, tickets to the Heritage Walk will be made available online, while all other box offices will officially open on Monday. Both he and the Barbados Tourism Authority expressed pleasure at having that outlet this year to enable particularly those overseas to secure tickets ahead of events, while BTA Acting Senior Vice President Avril Byer said it would also allow agents overseas to create packages where tickets to events were included through online purchasing.
Additionally, Browne said it was the sponsors that were enabling the festival to continue in the way it has.
He countered the belief that the King and Queen of the Crop were being sidelined in the festival, stating: “We’ve kept and actually raised the profile of our King and Queen of the Crop and they are at all of our events, they are given prominence at all the events and I think they are representative of the sugar industry and the prominence we attach to the sugar industry.
“They are actually awarded, and I want to thank the companies that provide them with a number of gifts… they actually get a number of gifts, so we do a lot to highlight the sugar industry through the King and Queen of the Crop.” (LB)