New set-up at Independence Park pleasing for most vendors

Vendors selling their wares at this year’s Independence celebrations on Monday (July 9) evening, had mixed views about the arrangement of booths.

While the majority appreciated the new set-up, a few were not pleased about the distance they had to walk in getting to their booths.

Food vendor Zelma Davis told this daily that she has been coming to the annual celebrations for years to sell her island renowned food. She had an assortment of cooked food hot and ready for customers.

“Barbecue chicken, fish, peas and rice, crab and rice, conch and rice,” she said.
Davis furthered that although the traffic of people stopping by her booth was plentiful the set up for vendors still left much to be desired.

“I don’t think the set-up is as good as last year,” she said.

Davis revealed that she did not like having to come out as early as 2:00 p.m. to prepare her booth. She also shared her dislike of having to park so far from her booth and carry all of her supplies the lengthy distance.

“It was so hard for me to get over here … you had to bring your stuff from so far,” she maintained.

She added that despite those changes she still looks forward to Independence. However, Davis revealed that Independence is not her most successful event.

“Conch cracking in McLean’s Town and Coconut Fest in Pelican Point are my most successful events on Grand Bahama,” she said.

Another vendor that also had some issues with the set-up was Hetline Nelson, who was in charge of the booth called Maddie’s Kids Corner.

“This is my second year. I would have preferred a different area where we were last year. Right now, you have to walk on the walk way,” she said.

She sold a variety of toys to children who attended the celebration.

“We have the bubbles, we have the squishy balls, light up toys,” she added.

The children visited her booth in large numbers throughout the night.

“Everything is going well,” she said.

Nelson noted that she enjoys working during Independence and expects great things in the near future for The Bahamas.

Other vendors did not mind the new set-up, one of them being Debra Poitier. She stated that the set-up was awesome.

“We don’t have everybody jammed up in one place. We’re spread out so the people can really walk around and check out everything,” she said.

Speaking to the distance from vehicle to booth, Poitier said, with an event like this it is to be expected.

This was Poitier’s third year working the event.

Like Davis she admitted that this was not her most lucrative occasion of the year. “Junkanoo is better.”

Poitier also sold various Bahamian flavored rice dishes, fried fish, fried chicken, barbecue wings, conch fritters, macaroni and as well as baked goods such guava duff, potato bread, coconut and pineapple tarts.

Ivy Morris sold frozen drinks such as daiquiris, mixed drinks and water to quench the thirsts of attendees.

One of her assistants told this daily that the crowd was much larger than they expected. They were pleased with the set-up, especially since their booth was positioned on the end of the lineup of other booths. They agreed that the set-up made it easier for vendors to do business this year.

They also appreciated the steady flow of traffic visiting their booth.

Michelle Bodie was one of the other popular toy vendors selling her wares under the ‘Flashes’ booth at the festivities.

Bodie sold an array of light-up toys and snacks. She too is a vending veteran.
“My booth is actually 19 years old,” she said.

She added that her booth makes an appearance almost every year, however, she missed last year’s event due to extenuating circumstances.

Bodie revealed that business was good that night as it usually is for such an occasion.
She also expressed her appreciation for the vendors’ set-up.

“I think the set-up is awesome, it’s more spacious,” she said.

Bodie shared that her only suggestion for next year’s celebrations is to incorporate more schools in the festivities.

“I think we should have more schools involved even though I know school is closed, but it’s not too far away from school closing,” she said.

She noted that many young people are not aware of the different customs that are practiced during Independence and that should be corrected.

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