By: Eddie Montalvo Morales
On March 13 the fair “5 dias con nuestra tierra “(5 days with our earth) started. At the fair, you can enjoy a variety of things like plants, animals and crafts for five days. This event is held in the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez (UPRM) campus. It is a fair organized by students to educate and promote agriculture; it’s a way to keep agriculture alive. People can go and see different types of plants and animals; and also learn what kind of work is done in a farm, and how important it is. This event is held for five days only and that is why it is called “5 dias con nuestra tierra”.
The fair has a long history, this year marked the 35th time where the fair has taken place on the grounds right next to the coliseum. This place is special because it is a land-gran territory. Which means it is protected and it is for agriculture use only. In recent years, there were problems in this area because the university was trying to make a jogging track where people can go and exercise. There were attempts to move the fair to another place to create the track but it wasn’t possible, the track was made but the fair still takes place where it always has.
Every year, many students of the Mayaguez University go and take part in the fair to educate people about agriculture. One notable difference in comparison to other years is that this year a recycling project took place. The name was Bottle Mountain, where people threw plastic bottles and cans in the middle of the fair. The project’s purpose was to make people realize how much waste we produce.
The project was an idea of the “Campus Verde” group, a group dedicated to spreading the word and teaching people about recycling. While asking around, many people said that they liked the idea and were moved by it. It was a very interesting, fun and interactional way for people to simply realize how much waste there is. However, there were individuals that didn’t share the same enthusiasm.
There weren’t many decorations, some areas had small gardens and a fountain, which was interesting to watch but other than that, not much. However, it was a very organized event, plenty of space to move around and most of all comfortable. The tents got crowded due to people sightseeing in these.
There were three main tent groups in the fair: crafts, plants and animals (excluding the amusement ride and the food stand). In the craft tent, there was a variety of items, such as: homemade artifacts, shirts, and drawings. In the plant tent, there were both typical and exotic types of plants. Some merchants were also selling seedlings to fully grown trees. In the animal tent, you could experience how a real farm is, where you can see and feed the animals. One of the most impressive sights was the multi-colored baby chicks, hundreds of different color were for sale, and many children bought them.
The food was good, but many people complained that it was too expensive. The food stand had a lot of different types of food such as: “pinchos”, “arañitas”, “tostones”, “tripletas”, “paella”, rice and beans, baked potato, among others. However, the food wasn’t the only expensive thing at the fair, so were the rides. Some of the available amusement rides were the mechanic bull, the spider jump, rock climbing, pony ride, inflatables, and shoot the target. Some enjoyed participating in these games, while others simply watched. “The games aren’t necessary, they have nothing to do with the fair nor agriculture. The fair is an educational event, and many people would have a different perspective seeing the games,” said Jose Santiago, former “5 dias con nuestra tierra” volunteer.
Every year, the music in the fair is very diverse; some genre were: “bomba”, “plena”, “salsa” y “trulla”. At night, the music would vary more, among some of the genre there were reggae and rock, among other.
In comparison with other years, this year the fair was more organized and had more variety. Some said that there were more people present than other years. For some of the merchants, business was not as good as other years, but they still enjoyed the fair. Pedro Martinez, merchant in the plant’s tent said: “This year the fair was a lot cleaner than last year; last year, dust cloud could be seen and I had to leave the tent for a time to get fresh air and clean up because of it. This year I didn’t have that problem.”
The rain was one of the main problems in the event. As a result, many people left early and due to the decreased amount of people, most merchants had to shut down and ruin their sales. The last musical event had to be canceled due to rain.
Overall, it was a peaceful event; many people enjoyed it, and hoped to return again next year. “It’s my last year in “colegio” so I decided to spend a whole day there. It truly is a remarkable event” Concluded Derly Perez, a UPRM student.