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Sep 3, 2013

Village Expo Showcases Handicrafts From Around the Country

The September calendar is traditionally packed with a host of activities that range from concerts to carnival to official ceremonies. Just about everyone will find some activity to attend. Over the weekend, the official re-opening of Memorial Park was followed by the Village Arts and Craft Expo at what is now called the Fort Point Pedestrian Walk. Artisans and small entrepreneurs from around the country displayed their wares that ranged from jewelry to carvings and food. Duane Moody has that report.


Duane Moody, Reporting

Thousands of persons converged at the newly remodeled Memorial Park now officially named the Fort Point Pedestrian Walk. It is the first of two expos to be held in the Old Capital. And unlike that organized by the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry for the business sector, the Village Arts and Craft Expo is the unique opportunity afforded to tourists, both local and foreign, as well as hoteliers to acquire that firsthand authentic experience of all that Belize has to offer.


Jewelry, , clothing, wood carvings, paintings by several artists including Pen Cayetano; and an array of decorative, but yet creative bejeweled ornaments… over one hundred and forty artisans were sectioned according to their respective districts alongside the park. As far north as Corozal and south from Toledo; on display were crocheted Belizean memorabilia, handbags and even chocolates and foods. And to complement the event, there was entertainment by several local bands with cultural music.


Catching our attention was the wood carving collection of wife and husband, Floyd and Sheriee Herbert. They operate out of Altun Ha in the Belize District. This is the first year that they are attending the Village Expo and they were offering great deals with items as low as ten dollars.


Floyd Herbert, Wood Carver

Floyd Herbert

“Belizeans are getting less than half price today. We have work from zericote, Mahogany and grenadillo. Zericote is the hardest wood in Belize; that’s the one with the black and white. And then we have the Grenadillo; that is similar to the Mahogany. We have bowls, toucans, boats, fishes…we also have some jewelries.”


Duane Moody

“As we can see, everything is so detailed. Where do you guys get your inspiration from and tell us about the hard work that you put into it.”


Sheriee Herbert

Sheriee Herbert, Wood Carver

“My husband used to be wah working for someone that do the carving. And actually he learned the work. He does all the carvings and I do the finishing work like the sanding and the shining on them.”


Also on display available for the south was the product of Che’il Mayan Chocolate. Came about after the establishment of the Maya Center Mayan Museum in the south, Julio Saqui says that Che’il Mayan Chocolate is bringing the Mayan culture and its way of life alive.


Julio Saqui, Che’il Mayan Chocolate

Julio Saqui

“It’s a museum that is interactive; that is living. It is interactive…we show you how to make coffee, how to make tortillas, how to do the cultural dances and then the chocolate. And then everybody wants chocolate after they are done. And then we needed to be able to produce that and so that has pushed us into starting to make the actual chocolate and today it is selling. The word Che’il means wild Mayan and the ancient Mayans used to trade cacao a lot so I think it was only fitting to be able to name it in their honor. Currently we are doing chocolate, cocoa powder, the tea as well and very soon we will be doing other products that are online.”


Saqui says that the rich, smooth and delicious chocolate treats will soon be available in small stores countrywide. Azrim Kreashans, however, boasts that they are in many homes and focuses on recycling materials.  According to Mirza Perez, the business started as a pastime and is now a lucrative business for her family.


Mirza Perez

Mirza Perez, Azrim Kreashans

“I take wine and liquor bottles and I recycle them and hand paint them and decorate them uniquely. I take even food jars and recycle them to do trinkets and different types of stuff. If you like bling, anything I put on a bottle. If you want to display a logo, if you want to have giveaways, I put it on a bottle. Personally I had started the seed art many years ago, but the bottle art was for my home. And then I realized that I really liked it; that my friends like it and I started to share it and more people started to order for their business and for different occasions”.


It is the second annual event of its kind being held by the Belize Tourism Board. Duane Moody for News Five.




Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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