CASFest second staging
Hundreds of aspiring artists and business owners crammed into Claude Stuart Park and the civic centre in Port Maria, St Mary, on March 4 for the second staging of the Social Development Commission's (SDC) annual Creative Arts and Skills Festival (CASFest).
The multifaceted event, which helps local residents turn innate skills into professional operations, featured a series of music, media, and performing arts workshops, and a popular booth hosted by the HEART Trust/NTA, where visitors were able to try new skills and register for relevant courses.
The SDC's Director of Community Development Planning and Programmes Avril Ranger told The Gleaner: "Events such as these are really important to rural communities where there is often a lot of talent in terms of community entrepreneurship and enterprise development.
"In fact, many of the people here today have good products, but they don't know how to get them out there. What I've found is that business fairs like these help to create the links and partnerships we desire and provide a platform for the community-based groups we work with to increase sales and showcase what they're doing.
"To be honest, today's been really great. This year has been very successful for us, and we're recognising that we have to do more business fairs come the next financial year."
According to the host of the music industry and management workshop, Joan Webley of Nanook Enterprises, CASFest is unique because budding creatives living outside the Corporate Area are largely ignored.
She said: "I really applaud the SDC in St Mary on this effort. I love regional events like these. We'd love to be a regional organisation, so it's good to come and connect with the community.