Residents of Carrot Bay and surrounding communities will soon have a more frequent avenue to buy, sell and socialize as plans are underway to have a Traditional Market Day several times per year.
Culture Minister Dr Natalio Wheatley told BVI News that Saturday’s market day event was necessary to breathe new life into that aspect of the territory’s culture.
“I loved it. I thought it was very successful, and the people loved it as well because this is what people want. The people are hungry for it and are calling for it every month so we are going to try our best to get it going again and we want this to be happening in other communities as well,” Dr Wheatley said.
He continued: “They want a little more of the culture because they believe we are losing our culture and we are losing our culture. So we need more opportunities like this to revive our culture. I look forward to having it not just next year but several times during the year. [And] I am willing to put money into it.”
Dr Wheatley further said the benefits of having more frequent market day events are not only cultural but also social and economic.
“I think it is a win-win for everybody. It is a good way to find out what products are available, it is good for persons who want to get into business to be able to have a captive audience to be able to try their products on a smaller level and grow from there,” he argued.
In the meantime, Co-chairperson of the Carrot Bay Cultural Fiesta Committee Anthea Smith said the day was packed with activities for hours.
“We were out here since 5 am selling local produce, local delicacies, we had a mango eating competition, we had the plait pole, the Heritage Dancers, Zion Songs, steel pan and the Razor Blades,” she said.
The Traditional Market Day was expected to take place since 2017. However, due to the hurricanes, it was pushed to this year.
“They used to do the market day in Tortola, and we wanted to bring that back. So we are hoping that it would not be a one-off something and it may not be annually, but something we do on a more regular basis,” Smith said.
She continued: “We achieved promoting our culture. We also achieved marketing the local delicacies and give people the opportunity to showcase the things that they do.”
Market Day vendors also seem to have positive reviews about the event.
“We came down with over 75 plants, and we did very well. Because I usually give away my plants,” a florist from Zion Hill said.
“We had a delay in starting up, but once we got going, it was ok,” she surmised.
Gregory Smith, another farmer who sold herbs and local produce, described the event as excellent.
“For the first time, it was amazing … It started slow, but then everybody came in and the day went well. It was very fruitful. It would be a good idea to continue and let everybody come out and see what the culture is all about on a regular basis.”
The event was part of this year’s 65th emancipation celebrations.
To close off the festivities, several major acts such as Pure Mass Band, Adam O, Pumpa, Jah Cure and VIBE entertained the crowd.
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