The 19th staging of Christmas on DeCastro Street, slated for this weekend, is moving into high gear despite a significant decline in the number of vendors confirmed for the event.
City Manager, Janice Braithwaite-Edwards said unlike in the past where they had 60-plus vendors, she suspects the numbers for this year will be between 20 and 25.
Only 15 vendors have so far confirmed their spots for the event which is to be held on December 1 and 2.
“This year we are not sure what sponsorship we are going to get because a lot of the people who give us sponsors, they are down in a hole as well. I think one of the challenges that our vendors are facing is the fact that the fees this year technically would be $500; so it’s a little bit steep for the smaller people,” said Brathwaite.
“Not that we want to keep them out, it’s just that in an effort for us to raise the funds, we need to ensure that the vendors who are going to be making money, make that contribution.”
Gifts for Adults
Meanwhile, the City Manager said unlike previous years where Santa would only gift children, this year needy adults will be eligible for food and care packages.
“We are not going to make money, which is something that we don’t do anyway. We are just trying to make the community contribution to just get us in the spirit of Christmas, which is the spirit of giving and so that’s the focus for us in 2017.”
The food and care packages will be done on a first come first serve basis she said.
Schedule of Activities
Braithwaite said the event will begin at 10am on both days and talks are underway with law enforcement authorities to have the event end by midnight – one hour after curfew.
On Day-One there will be an opening ceremony at 5.30 pm with Elmore Stoutt, once again, doing a repertoire of storytelling exercise on Christmas stories.
On Saturday will be the usual concert which will showcase new and emerging artists, DJ’s and entertainers instead of established acts.
Brathwaite said this is all part of efforts to cut cost.
Meanwhile, the City Manager noted that persons are being encouraged to contribute financially when the donation buckets go around each night.
Each vendor will be asked to make a $100 donation to the two charities that are down to benefit from the event – the Eslyn Henley Richez Learning Center and the Elmore Stoutt High School Music Program, which both suffered significant losses during the recent hurricane.
“Eslyn Henley Richez Learning Center lost their entire building and its contents, and then we are going to support the Elmore Stoutt High School Music Program, they lost all their instruments,” said the City Manager.