Christmas music filled the air in central Road Town on Friday and Saturday as vendors showed off their wares and community members searched for gifts at Christmas in the City.
This was Priscilla Cupid’s second time as a vendor.
“I did it six years ago, and my daughter wanted to do it [this year] to help advertise her business, Flavourful Treats,” she said. “We bring the fair treats to you, like funnel cake, cotton candy, apple candy, fried Oreo cookies, fried Kit Kats, fried Coke and fried orange soda.”
This year, the event drew 45 vendors, up from 35 last year, according to City Manager Janis Braithwaite-Edwards.
“We had a bigger turnout this year than we did last year,” Ms. Brathwaite-Edwards added. “I think one of our biggest attractions was the kid section we incorporated this year. That was one of the highlights.”
The two-day event was located on Shoreway Drive, where vendors lined up under white tents in front of One Stop Mall.
Activities included a party for children who had recent birthdays, bouncy houses, a kiddie train, bands from Tortola and the sister islands, and more.
Items for sale included toys, gadgets, clothes, bags, perfumes, food and more. One tent offered video games where people could pay to play for as long as they wanted.
“It was a very good turnout,” Ms. Braithwaite-Edwards said. “The vendors said that they did better than they did last year. Early in the evening the food ran out, and we didn’t stop [the music] until midnight.”
Ms. Cupid — who has operated her business, Cupid’s Gift Basket, for over 25 years — said the event was a chance to do business during the holiday season.
“Everyone gets an opportunity to make a little extra money outside of their regular income. We all come together, socialise and have a good time,” she said, adding, “I need to make some extra cash and spread the love around to my loved ones and those that really depend on me for income.”
The event was particularly welcome after a few difficult years, according to the vendor.
“We’ve had our struggles,” she said. “We had the pandemic and the storms in 2017. It cut off some people’s finances, so it’s an opportunity for us all to bounce back.”
This year was the 24th Christmas in the City, according to Ms. Braithwaite-Edwards. Because the event was so successful, she said there will likely be more events next year centred around the 25th anniversary celebration.
“I expect next year it will be an even better turnout. The committee decided that we’re gonna sit down early and start planning already,” she said. “It’s going to be bigger and grander next year.”
Across town at the Cyril B. Romney Tortola Pier Park, Virgin Islands Search and Rescue opened one of its biggest fundraisers of the year: a skating rink.
The rink was set up near the cruise ship pier, where Christmas decorations illuminated the area.
“It’s our second night. Last night we had three sold-out ses- sions because we had school groups in. The rink this year has been going really well,” said VISAR volunteer Julie Schneider. “The kids are having a great time. Some parents are having more fun than the kids.”
This is the third year that VISAR has set up the rink for the holidays. The rink — covered with a synthetic ice called “glice” — is expandable, so this year it was widened, she said.
The rink is open daily until Dec. 31 from 5 p.m., and a half hour of skating costs $10.
Starting on Dec. 19, the rink will open at 4 p.m. It won’t open on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.