More than 20 craft vendors will set up shop at Arawak Cay and sell their authentic Bahamian goods at the annual Junkanoo Summer Festival (JSF), which begins this Saturday.
While the A and B Junkanoo groups put on a colourful cultural performance, the vendors will be selling items ranging from straw, coconut, seashells, woodcarving, aromatherapy and spa to Junkanoo drums and whistles.
Dereka Moultrie, co-ordinator in the Ministry of Tourism’s 'Authentically Bahamian' department, said the vendors will be making the move from Pompey Square on July 1, 15, and 22 to become a special feature at the much-anticipated festival.
“Junkanoo Summer Festival promises to be an exciting event this year for our visitors and locals alike. One of the noted features is the Authentically Bahamian Craft village, which will give patrons of the event the opportunity to leave with an authentically Bahamian craft souvenir and Junkanoo paraphernalia,” she said.
“It is very successful because it gives the vendors a chance to spread their entrepreneurial wings. They are able to reach a larger and more diverse market. It’s a different market place and a different atmosphere, where they get to communicate with not only our visitors but many Bahamians as well, who may not get to see them in Pompey Square."
Christine Davis specialises in sea glass jewellery, and has been a part of the Authentically Bahamian Craft programme at the Ministry of Tourism for eight years.
“Through the Ministry of Tourism I was able to enhance my business with the credit card machine, and now I am able to accept credit cards from tourists. There are also lots of great benefits to going different places where visitors will be,” Ms Davis said.
“I make necklaces, earrings, bracelets, anklets and anything you can possibly make with sea glass. Everyone loves it because it is a unique way of seeing something that you can recycle."
Betty Turnquest, of BA Enterprises, has been doing straw craft for 40 years. She said of the Junkanoo Summer Festival: “It’s very organised; you have more of a crowd at the festival and the potential to make more money is there because you have more people passing through. I look forward to it every year, and this year I’m looking forward to making more money than I did last year."
Junkanoo Summer Festival, which runs from 4pm to midnight, includes daytime games, more than 30 food vendors and military performances.