Patrons planning to attend the annual emancipation celebrations this year are being told to expect fewer food and beverage options at the festival village in Road Town.
Vice Chair of the VI Festivals and Fairs Committee (VIFFC) Xayrna Samuels told BVI News there are at least five fewer booths this year.
“We have a total of 17 booths, 15 of which are sale booths. The other two will be for the [VIFF] committee and the other one is for the police,” she said.
“The numbers have gone down [this year]. We would normally have 23 or 24 booths.”
Samuels said there are reasons behind the reduced numbers.
“We as booth owners had lost a lot during the hurricanes and are trying to rebuild not only their homes but their finances.”
She said many of the booth owners would recycle their building materials. However, due to the hurricanes, it was destroyed.
“A lot of them really couldn’t put their selves in the expense of getting new materials for this year,” she continued.
“And the number of days has cut down as compared to the two weeks, so some persons didn’t see the need to come in for a period of seven days.”
She further said all of the booth owners who will be in operation this year are those who have been on the grounds religiously year after year.
Samuels also mentioned changes to the usual layout inside the festival village this year.
Samuels said in order to accommodate the fewer number of booths, the VIFFC decided to ‘try something new’.
The stage is no longer positioned in a central location, but it is now located towards the back near the mangroves.
Notably, the amusement rides will be available for the festival, she said.
Importantly, vendors will only be charged $500 to set up booths at the festival village this year. The figure represents a 50 percent reduction when compared to previous years.
The festival village officially opens on Friday, August 3.
Due to the lingering impacts of the 2017 hurricanes this year’s festivities have been significantly scaled back.
Several gospel artistes are down to perform at gospel festival scheduled for Thursday night.
Among the artistes are Gabrielle Denae, High-Frequency Band VI, New Level Praise, Joy Praise, Oneyke, Chiomzy and Kendra Penn.
The event begins at 7pm and there is no admission fee.
The Virgin Islands Heritage Month Committee is presenting the gospel fest this year.
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