Yesterday Mikkel and I along with 3 other friends went to the Feria International de Azuero, a annual fair held in Los Santos de La Villa, next to Chitre (about an hours drive from Pedasí). Another friend wrote about it in her blog previously-In Da Campo (http://wp.me/pVc7I-1JZ), but I thought I just might add my take on it as well. It is very much like the state and county fairs I have attended back in California with the usual carnival rides, vendor and food booths, agriculture and garden displays, new cars and farm equipment, etc. From the entrance off the highway, it does not look like much, being located right in town next to a school. But once entered the gates after buying our tickets ($1.50 for jubilado resident), I became aware that this fair was very large like the fairs in California. One of the differences was when we first entered there are two streets of permanent two-story store-front building for about two blocks.
Companies and stores such as tire shops, mobile phone companies, hardware stores, banks, etc. can rent these “mini-stores” to advertise and sell their products. It’s like walking through an outdoor mall. At the fairs in California, these vendors would normally set up display booths outside or in large buildings, not individual stores.
There is a large furniture section on the fairgrounds which reminded me of a daily flea market back in Roseville, California called “Denios”.
We spent much of our time in the agriculture and garden section. There were a variety of flowers and plants for sale, many which we do not see much of in Pedasí, probably due to the climate, such as roses. They probably come from Boquete and Volcan which are in the higher and cooler mountainous areas of Panama. The vegetable and fruit demonstration garden displays interested us the most including vertical gardens of watermelon held up in nets, beautiful multi-vegetable gardens watered by misters, and an hydroponics lettuce garden using pvc pipes using a small motor to recycle the water through a holding-tank made from a barrel.
All in all we had a great time. When we arrived at about 12 noon, not many of the vendors had opened up for business, but around 3pm, it was in full swing. We left around 6:30pm, only because we don’t like driving much in the dark in Panama. The car windows are tinted very dark and it is hard to see out at night. We didn’t buy much, but we had been told by other if we return Sunday evening or even the next Monday morning when the fair is closed and everyone is packing up, we might be able to bargain with the vendors for a lot less cost since it would be less to pack up. Mikkel thought he try that next Monday morning. We have our wish list on some plants and a macrame hammock chair.