Craftspeople and vendors gear up for tomorrow’s big opening of Bridgetown Market, hopeful that a new arts and craft “village” will boost interest and sales
The “100 per cent Bajan To De Bone” Cultural Village at the Flour Mill site is to be the main feature of this year’s market. It will include iconic chattel houses featuring the products of local artists and artisans.
When the Barbados TODAY team visited the Mighty Grynner Highway on Friday, vendors and artisans were setting up their stalls.
Craftsman John Watson said he was pleased with the changes to the layout as the National Cultural Foundation made the crafts village a focal point in this year’s Bridgetown Market.
He said: “This year there has been some improvement and I believe next year there will be some improvement.
“I think that crafts in Barbados for some time not have not been given the attention that it deserves.”
He also praised the NCF and the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc for promoting the development of the handicraft industry.
With the changes to this year’s Bridgetown Market, Watson said he expected an increase in patronage from locals and visitors alike. He suggested that further investment in Barbadian crafts was crucial for national development.
Watson told Barbados TODAY: “I think Barbadians and visitors alike should really come and see what is being done with local crafts and really support the local craft sector because it provides the opportunity for a lot of people to really show their creativity and the more crafts are sold, the more innovative people become.
“When there are no crafts, people get creative in other ways which are not good.”
Despite reports of increased arrivals for the weekend climax of the Crop Over Festival, Watson said artisans are unable to profit because visitors were coming for the last three to four days of the festival.
Food vendor Orwin Lucas of Bulldog Bar and Grill also had high expectations for the two-day market.
“I hope to make some money and have a good and safe Crop Over,” said Lucas who also added that he was anticipating large crowds on the Mighty Grynner Highway on Monday.
And Lucas called for more incorporation of cultural practitioners whether in the entertainment, arts or culinary sectors.
He added: “I would like to see more local stuff craft-wise, food-wise and where entertainment is concerned because it is a Bajan thing and it needs to be more of a Bajan thing because Crop Over is one of our most important times of the year, where Bajans don’t have money but they can find money for Crop Over.”
Another vendor, Terry Jones of Bae Eats, said he was “hoping for the best” for the weekend.
He told Barbados TODAY: “Bajans are going to out to party and hopefully it works out.
“If it doesn’t work out it is a learning experience.
“We can’t control what the people are going to do but at the same time we as vendors will try to come out and have a nice time ourselves and try to apply our trade the best way we know how.”