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Mixed views as Christmas on Main Street wraps up

- Vendors offer suggestions for improvements
Many persons were seen browsing the more than 50 booths that lined Main Street this year and shopping, as the event every year, ushers in the Christmas season.
Vendor Fiona Farrington of Creative Things interacts with a vendor.
Vendor Fiona Farrington of Creative Things interacts with a vendor.
A young lad tries to Hi-five the walking Christmas tree.
A young lad tries to Hi-five the walking Christmas tree.
A vendor explaining one of her products to a customer last evening December 3, 2011 at Christmas on Main Street.
A vendor explaining one of her products to a customer last evening December 3, 2011 at Christmas on Main Street.
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – Last evening December 3, 2011, the 13th Annual Christmas on Main Street came to an end with organisers feeling satisfied with the results, vendors sharing mixed views on the outcome while the Christmas spirit quietly crept in through the event, which is known for setting the tone for the festive season.

Young and old were seen browsing the many booths that lined the street and shopping, some listening to the Christmas songs Fungi style, others dancing and singing along.

Vendor Sylvia Wattley of Wattley Herbs is taking part in the event for 11 years and for her last year was “plenty better” than this year's event.

Ms. Wattley who had her booth filled with guavaberry liquer, mauby, stews, plantain, pumpkin and other products told Virgin Islands News Online there is a lot of sales by different stores on the same evening which is competing with the event which takes away from the number of persons who actually shop at Christmas on Main Street this year. It was noted that several stores along the Waterfront drive were having sales last evening.“All they need is to get the people to come out and spend,” the veteran vendor commented.

Alithia Adams of Chris’Dream has been participating for four years and said this year was very slow for her compared to last year. The state of the economy can also be a factor for that she said as she compared her sales for last year the first night at $1000, and for this year it was under $500.

For Lynette George of Lyn’s Gift and Things, who is one of the organisers of Christmas on Main Street compared this year’s event to the same as last years but noted that she had “better years”. She said for her the nights are better than the days, as the first day persons came out and look around but came back in the evening to shop.

This is Creative Things 6th year and Fiona Farrington recorded a good flow of customers and sale at her booth though for her last year was a little more “fast paced”. The businesswoman said though traditionally Christmas on Main Street is held early in December, she believes the first weekend in December is a bit too early for Christmas shopping.

She recommended that the event can be moved a bit closer to Christmas for at least a year or two and evaluate the response to see how feasible it may be. She also suggested that the event be scheduled around the time when cruiseships are in port and to be done in conjunction with the BVI Tourist Board to ensure it gets maximum results.

Another vendor, who wished to remain anonymous, noted that Christmas on Main Street may be a success every year for some vendors as it depends on what is being sold. Items such as toys, sweets and food are found to be easy sellers every year while clothing, jewelry and souvenirs will depend on the crowd and visitors in the Territory. The vendor recommended that another way to attract more people and bring diversity to the event is to change the setting of the lay out by having a dining experience after every five booths where resorts can be invited to showcase their products and restaurants. She suggested a seating area where families can sit and relax after shopping and enjoy a meal and where music such as the fungi or jazz can be set up to play at the strategic spots as well to complete the setting.

Meanwhile, co-chair of the Christmas on Main Street Committee Janis Braithwaite-Edwards, told Virgin Islands News Online that the event was a major success this year.

“I am satisfied, the energy we put into it paid off. We wish we can accommodate more people but those who turned out were good. The entertainment was well supported with focus on the youths. A lot of people are shopping and a lot of it in the little treasure chest are coming out and we are glad the vendors here were able to say that it was a good thing to have been outside today.”

The co-chair noted that based on the feedback from the vendors, it has a lot to do with the presence of cruise ships but this year there was none in port and that made a lot of difference.

Ms. Braithwaite-Edwards explained that the reason Christmas on Main Street cannot be pushed closer to Christmas is because it has dominated the weekend, and even had competition with other events such as the Elmore Stoutt High School Concert which was held last evening. As for next weekend, she noted it will be Virgin Gorda Christmas in Spanish Town.

“It comes to a situation where you actually have to juggle, we actually used to have the Fungi Band Fiesta this same weekend which has now gone to Culture Week. It is actually a matter of getting a Virgin Islands calendar of activities so that we could spread out the activities a little more and something we as a community need to start looking at. We can have something every weekend of the year, rather than have four or five things on one weekend. So yes I hear them we here that next cruiseship season will be a better one and there will be ships. Yes the economy has something to do with it but in spite of that, one of the key things is that people came out and meet each other and inter-mingle.”

She said this year it feels good and there are things they can improve on next year and that they are taking notes and welcome the suggestions by vendors, but added that, overall this year was a good one.

8 Responses to “Mixed views as Christmas on Main Street wraps up”

  • Up-Town (04/12/2011, 13:03) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    the organizers waited too late to push this, then many vendors got locked out over should be advertised more....but it was a good effort!!!
    • Shara Parlin (04/12/2011, 22:48) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      well the economy is bad and the vip said so, but the NDP with dem voodoo economics claim they will fix it...i know we the people have a long long long wait for that!!!
  • WELLSA (04/12/2011, 17:29) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    The girl in the white top, jean skirts and pink leggings look like one of santa lost!!
  • Real (04/12/2011, 20:25) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    This need to just come offf main street. When them done put up the tents there is nowhere to walk. Put it on the main road n leave main stree open. It would so so much better
  • qqqq (04/12/2011, 22:28) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    seem like next year i have to make friend with a NDP cowbird to get a tent spot!
  • FISHNIN DA SEA !!! (05/12/2011, 08:06) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    CHRISMAS IS EVIL !!!!!!!!
  • tolian (05/12/2011, 16:18) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    @ shara parlin : Do you expect the New government to fix the economic issues in one fell swoop.? If VIP was still in there we probably would have been worst off. Thank god for small miracles.
  • ta ta (05/12/2011, 19:24) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    my children had a ball....

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