George Town street fair divides opinion

A street fair selling local food and crafts to cruise ship passengers in George Town is dividing opinion in the capital. 

While tourists have previously praised the event, some commuters are frustrated with the closure of a key road at rush hour for what has dwindled, on some days, to a small number of vendors. 

The event, initially organized by the Pirates Week Committee but now run by chef John Jefferson Jr. of Culture Shop, takes over part of Cardinall Avenue on Thursdays. 

The street closes from before 8 a.m. to facilitate the event. 

Jackie Stirling, who works in the CIBC building in George Town, said there needs to be some form of traffic management introduced if the road is going to be closed every week. She said the closure was impacting traffic coming into George Town at the busiest time of the day and causing excessive delays. 

“There were only a couple of vendors out there today [Thursday]. I don’t know why they can’t leave the road open until later or have the stalls at the craft market or inside the cruise terminal. 

Affecting business 

“I don’t want to take away anyone’s business, but this is affecting all the other businesses in George Town.” 

Mr. Jefferson said he had taken on the job of organizing the street fair around three months ago. He said, “We have local food, crafts and jewelry. We usually have local music as well. It is a real Cayman experience for the cruise ship passengers. They really enjoy it.” 

He said the number of vendors had dwindled in recent weeks because a sponsorship deal with Pepsi to provide canopies had fallen through. But he said other arrangements were being made and the street fair would be “back to full strength” shortly. He said it was necessary to close the road early to prevent people parking on the street. 

“It is only once a week, and it is only part of one road,” he said, arguing that it was not too much inconvenience. 

Just a handful of vendors were out for the street market on Cardinall Avenue on Thursday. - PHOTO: TANEOS RAMSAY

Just a handful of vendors were out for the street market on Cardinall Avenue on Thursday. – PHOTO: TANEOS RAMSAY
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7 COMMENTS

  1. I thought it was a good thing, tourist, visitors and vendors looked happy.
    However this is no surprise to hear that it is dwindling, because once ounce of pressure that is put on a Caymanian, and he gives up. Just watch who will take it over very soon.

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  2. I think that this issue could be very easily solved. Make that area one way on Thursday, by putting dividers in the middle of the road,then that would be the responsibility of the vendors. Of course you would need the presence of a cop.

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  3. Just what we need. Worse traffic in George Town for local residents trying to get through.
    No problem having local vendors trying to make a few dollars. But it should not block a public street.

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  4. Did we have very positive feedback from the tourist on this attraction ? So why don’t we understand that if we are going to continue to welcome tourist to the Islands we need attractions. Or is it like what Ms Vargas Said, just watch who will take it over.

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  5. I suggest Mr Jefferson tries to drive through town on a Thursday. Cardinal Avenue is an arterial route and when it closes there is tremendous traffic congestion which is a major problem for local commuters.The vendors need to find somewhere where they do not close a major road.

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  6. Presence of a local crafts and food fair is a wonderful idea, and would provide tourists an opportunity to purchase moments of their visit to Cayman that is something other that what they can buy at every other island they visit.

    The problem is simply the chosen locations. Surely there is someplace convenient to Cruise Ship visitors that is off the street and within easy and safe accessibility to them.

    Keep the market, but change the location!

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  7. Why not consider the old tower site in town? It’s a perfect central location with local and visitor foot traffic which does not require closing important roads. Government has no plans for it until the port gets built, so why not use it for local craft, food and farmers market stalls in the meantime? Not only could it be a fun experience for tourists but it could also help attract locals back into town. Ask Minister Tibbetts or Tristan to remove the hording and lock on the gate and put the site to good use, even if it’s just for a few years.

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