Business owners united to reinvent Downtown Oranjestad; Downtown Food & Art Festival will take place in Weststraat

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Last Wednesday the Reinvented Downtown project was launched, initiated by Impact Hub Aruba together with various business owners in the area of Weststraat who share a single goal, to give life back to the area of Downtown Oranjestad.

Mrs. Mary-Ann Falconi-Rasmijn, General Manager of Impact Hub Aruba explained that Impact Hub as an incubator organization and coworking space firmly believes in projects to benefit the business community, to promote economic development and most importantly to benefit our local community. Recently they formed a commission of building owners in Weststraat to reinvest in their properties and give a new experience to attract commerce and housing back to the area.

Reinvented Downtown

Regarding the project “Downtown Reinventa” – Reinvented Downtown – the commission is launching a Downtown Food & Art Festival on the 30th of November where the community can come enjoy art exhibitions and mural art starting at 3pm. From 6-11pm there will be selling of crafts, pop-up stores, local cuisine and food trucks. There will be entertainment for kids by Disney Recreation. There will also be entertainment by DJ Calero, Rumba Caribeña Gaita y Show, and Grupo di Betico. At exactly 8.50pm there will be a fireworks show to celebrate the beginning of a new era for Downtown Oranjestad.

Mrs. Falconi-Rasmijn said that the commission is aware that this is a long-term project and will demand dedication and consistency to achieve the common vision as well as the commitment of all those involved to continue with the collaboration. Downtown Oranjestad consists of many more areas than just Weststraat and Schoenerhaven, each one with its own identity. However, the commission took the area of Schoenerhaven, Weststraat and Werfstraat as the areas to start with a pilot project. The primordial intention is that other owners in other areas of Oranjestad can continue with the framework and apply this so that other areas can be reinvented.

Mrs. Falconi-Rasmijn thanks all stakeholders, partners and particularly business owners in the area:

Mr. Richard Eman, Mr. Alberto Perret, Mr. Milton Harms, Mr. Irwin Perret, Mr. Jaime Gomez, Mr. Dinesh Mahtani, Mr. Krish Mahtani, Mr. Jean Carlos Espinal, Mr. Demis Illes, Mr. Paul Gielen, Mr. Teddy Bouroncle, Mr. Mark Benson Denz and Mr. Richard Lacle and everyone who contributed one way or the other. She also thanked sponsors Aruba Tourism Authority, Harbourwalk, Elite Productions, Romar Trading, PANA, Aruba Ports Authority, Sherwin Williams, Disney Recreation and Events.

Mrs. Ronella Croes, CEO of Aruba Tourism Authority was also present during the press conference as one of the main sponsors, and elaborated on ATA’s vision for the experience that is offered to the cruise tourist who is searching for an authentic experience combined with culture, history and our people. This project is focused precisely on the cruise area to make it more attractive and create added value for the cruise tourist. Mrs. Croes elaborated on similar events that were organized in the past headed by ATA that generated a unique experience for Oranjestad, and it is expected that Downtown Food & Art Festival will achieve the same results.

The curator of the Downtown Food & Art Festival is Mr. Ricado “Cado” De Lannoy, who is in charge of investigating the history of Paardenbaai and Playa, as well as leading the artistic aspect of the project and the concepts of each mural creation, maintaining the essence of the culture and history of the area.

President of the Association Welcome Plaza, Mrs. Elizabeth Guanipa gave a speech sharing their experience as owners of the kiosks at Welcome Plaza and the ambition to attract local consumers. Mrs. Guanipa also explained their desire to receive the flow of tourists from the High Rise area to come closer to Oranjestad to know the beauty that Oranjestad has to offer. Mrs. Guanipa said she is glad to be part of this initiative and during next week, they will unveil more about their participation.

Finalizing, Mrs. Falconi-Rasmijn invited the community of Aruba to meet a new Weststraat on the 30th of November in a family atmosphere and to enjoy our local groups as well as a beautiful fireworks show.