Better known by the artisans as the Plaza Las Americas fair will take place beginning January 8 to January 11, 2008. Plaza Las Americas has two such fairs, this one and another right after Fathers Day in June. Most of the artisans prefer the summer fair as the winter fair is right after the Christmas celebrations and one week before the Grand Fete, las Ferias de la Calle San Sebastián. Because of this there is not much money to be made as most people are already broke from the Christmas spending.
From experience I can say that this fair is not what it used to be. The fairs at Plaza Las Americas used to be money makers and a gathering of the best artisans of the island. Due to the economy in these past years this fair has come down somewhat to the point that some artisans will not participate due to the preparation expenses which can be high depending on the artisans category. This is what has been taking place with the other well known fair Bacardi which, from what I have been told has been cut down to one day. I am assuming that this is correct due to the fact that the info comes from a regular participant.
I have had the opportunity to speak to a number of artisans and have discovered that many have taken on jobs in order to make ends meet and because of the preparation expenses have cut back from attending some fairs. I am currently projecting that this year will probably be the worse. The reasoning behind this is the up coming OPEC meeting December 17, 2008 where the 14 oil producing nations have plans on cutting production. If they go through with that plan, and I have no doubt they will that would mean that we will go back to high gasoline prices which will in turn force high prices all around on all things. You can read about the OPEC situation Here.
As for Puerto Rico things will be getting worse than what they currently are. As in the states there has been many, many layoffs, Wyeth being the latest to announce layoffs. Those who wish to check out the various layoffs going on stateside can go Here, Here and Here. Be warned, the Big Picture is bleak to say the least.
As for the artisans my advice is DON’T LEAVE YOUR DAY JOB! Things are hard enough for us as is and it appears that they will get a lot worse. Diversification might be the clue to future survival. Those that live in the country might not suffer as much food wise as many grow their own fruits and vegetables and have a few animals. The ones in the cities and urbanization will have it a lot rougher.
Good Luck to All.