Patrons and vendors have expressed concerns about the revamped annual three-day Jet Blue Bridgetown Market under way along the Spring Garden Highway.
The cultural showcase has been divided into the Jet Blue Food and Crafts Village and the Traders Way, to lure locals and tourists to experience Barbadian culture.
On day one of the event, vendors complained that they were disadvantaged by the changes while some patrons suggested that the efforts to revitalize the dying brand had fallen short.
After touring the Food and Crafts Village on Saturday, patron Junior King told Barbados TODAY that he was doubtful about the future of the annual event.
“It is unfortunate that every year I come it seems the numbers are getting less and less, so I think the NCF is going to have to figure out how the future of this event is going to play out,” said the concerned Barbadian.
He expressed concern that the separation of the craft village was not in the best interest of the vendors, noting that one area was being frequented by patrons, while the other was virtually empty.
“I don’t really think it has benefited each group . . . . I think it probably makes more sense to bring them back together so they can benefit from the same traffic,” he said.
King also suggesting that the market area was too big, noting that he had opted not to visit some stalls because of the distance.
“They should leave the stalls for Grand Kadooment but make the stalls for Bridgetown Market a lot less,”
Patron Gena Smith also expressed her disappointment with the event that was marketed as a Bajan experience.
“I was expecting more of an international production with foods and so forefront and that was disappointing. I was expecting more local craft . . . .and I haven’t seen much of that. I was expecting more cuisine based on what was advertised but I haven’t seen any of that,” she said.
Smith however said she was impressed by the JetBlue Food and Crafts Village, which was a highlight of the expo.
Meanwhile, vendors said the turnout on the first day was low.
One local artisan who requested anonymity said the attendance was not what she expected having decided to showcase her items for the first time at the venue.
” I expected more people in this venue. I don’t know if there are other events going that probably clash but I expected a better turn out,” she added.
This was also the concern of Richelle Taylor, who was at the street fair for the third year.
“The turnout is not as big as other Saturdays but a big number doesn’t mean sales . . . the big numbers may come . . . but that doesn’t mean they are buying,” she said.