Special events director for the Cultural Development Division in the ministry of culture, Gilbret Laudat, in an interview with OBSERVER media over the weekend, said that this year’s Independence Food Fair planning committee faces a challenge of allocating limited space.
“Because of the cricket we cannot get the entire ground so we are only using the western side and we are going to have our buy local, our food fair, our kiddy zone, the games and bounce castle on one side so we are really overwhelmed, so we have to cut down on the registration,” Laudat explained.
The food fair is scheduled to take place on November 1 at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, however, the special events director revealed that two cricket matches will also be taking place at the venue on the same day. He says that because of this development, the space that the food fair usually occupies will not be available.
He added that last year’s food fair attracted one hundred and eighty-five vendors and so far, fifty new vendors have already registered with the committee. According to him, it is for this reason that the decision was made to cut off registration early.
He admitted that it was the desire of the committee to have registration carry on up to October 19 but the current halting of vendor registration is temporary until the committee is able to assess the available space and if more vendors can be accommodated then the registration will be continued.
He emphasised the need for vendors to get their stalls set up as early as possible. He said that they will able to do so from October 31 between 1 pm and 11:30 pm. He assured vendors that there will be security available to ensure the safety of their belongings.
On the day of the event, vendors will be able to access the premises via vehicle from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. through the main gate, but after that time, individuals will only have access to gate number 5 and 7 to enter and exit up to 10 a.m.
After 10 a.m. they will then have to walk with their equipment into the grounds.
The director boasted of a couple of new features for this year’s fair. Firstly, he revealed that there will be a tent made available for senior citizens to sit and eat comfortably while they enjoy the fair. Secondly, there will be maps available that will seek to make it easier for patrons to find the food and vendors they desire. He said that booths will be arranged according to alleys named after prominent Antiguans and Barbudans.
Laudat also made a plea to vendors to abide by the rules of the International Cricket Council (ICC) since they will have control of the facility, and to remember that safety is of paramount importance.