This weekend was Hopkins Day in our village. The name may sound redundant since we live in Hopkins, Belize. What it means is the village council of Hopkins creates an event that gives residents (and the village itself) an opportunity to make money and to celebrate Hopkins. People of Hopkins are encouraged to rent a booth and sell products, or make food to sell, or even rent a trampoline and sell jumps to the kids. Businesses, like the hotels or restaurants can rent a booth to promote their name and usually also sell something to make the day more fun. Renting a booth also helps support the village as that money goes to the village council for future needs.
Hopkins Day is an annual event, usually at the end of July. The week leading up to Hopkins Day is a big, annual week of clean up where the grass is cut and any debris or trash is picked up. The village looks its best. Everyone pitches in because they are proud to invite visitors to the village and see how beautiful it is.
Tents and tables are set up in the center of the village, near the church, across from the school and library, in the big open field where kids play soccer on the weekends.
Then, if the weather is good and there is not too much rain, people from surrounding villages and towns come and support Hopkins by attending Hopkins Day. They attend Hopkins Day because it's a fun thing to do for families on the weekend. And also, because people of Belize support one another this way. It reminds me of how a big school fundraiser in the States works. The school is not normally a place of commerce, it is not typically in the business of selling food, rides, or fun games for kids. But once a year, there may be a large fundraiser that is open to the entire community. Parents encourage their friends and neighbor to come out and support the school. Meanwhile, parents cook loads of food, create games with prizes, and volunteer to stand at tables all day, selling items.
Here in Belize, Hopkins is a fishing village and also a tourism village. So we have hotels, tour companies, restaurants and a couple gift shops. But there are a lot of people who do not have a store front and don't make money on a regular basis by selling to tourists or the general public. This might be a neighbor who is fantastic at baking/cooking and sells to friends, or a person who sources clothing at discounted prices and sells out of their home to their friends. Hopkins Day gives everyone in the village an opportunity to make money by attracting a nice crowd of people and offering booths to sell food, games and various products.
This year, the kids and I went to Hopkins Day on Sunday (2nd day of the fair). We ate lunch, had icys, played some games and saw some friends. It was a great day. Our lunch team at the Sea Bar also had a booth at Hopkins Day and made pizzas for the hungry crowds.