Friday, August 16, 2013

Gelee Beach Festival

This week I worked an Audubon Center tent at the Gelee Beach Festival.  With American University of the Caribbean students manning the tent I was able to walk around and enjoy the agriculture and art vendors in the Agro-Artisanal section my AUC coworker organized, up the beach away from the main crowded party area.  Here are photos of some of the art that I had never seen before.  The bone art is made from goat bones.  There were necklaces, buckles, ponytail holders, wall art, and pencil holders carved from the bone.  The piece I bought reminds me of Inuit ivory carvings, with a fish and sun.

Next to the Audubon tent women were selling woven baskets, purses and dolls.  Across from the tent was ceramic art, which I had previously seen passing through the streets of Port au Prince and assumed was gaudy plastic resin.  Turns out they are ceramic and beautiful.  The vendor said they were made of lime.  Leave a comment if you know anything about this type of ceramic!  It must be mass produced somewhere in Port.

Gelee Beach was transformed to a packed, party atmosphere with a giant concert stage blaring music, trinket and food vendors, plenty of rum and alcohol booths, and games of chance tables.  The festival lasts all week, but the main day is Aug. 15, Assumption Day on the Catholic calendar.  I was told it gets rowdy and don’t be there after dark.  People in our ag/art section seemed to be there more for the festival atmosphere than shopping or education, but we were still able to talk with many about the importance of Haiti’s environment.  See this post about the Audubon tent.

By the time I left around 6pm the Gelee roads were packed at the intersections with National Highway 2, so beware if you are traveling west out of Les Cayes during festival week!  There were plenty of police directing traffic, and steam rollers blocking intersections to channel traffic.  Made the moto ride home quite nerve racking!

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