Bulging red and white carrier bags with the Sal2 logo on them showed it was mission accomplished in Santa Cruz. The thronging streets and plazas were further proof that the second annual initiative to boost small and medium sized businesses was a hit with families.

Early in the day the marching band tuned up near the African Market, inflatable castles were pumped into life and free parking ensured that all roads led to the capital city. Of the 120 shops joining in, 64 took the chance to invade the streets and expand onto makeshift stalls, 15 artists took pitches around Teatro Guimera, and 32 restaurants drew up special offer menus for the day. Last year 70,000 people flocked to the event and the Sociedad Desarrollo (development society) were taking no chances this year installing temporary toilets around the main venues. Police and Unipol officers kept a high visibility but I even saw some of them smiling and laughing.

Plaza del Principe was the magnet for toddlers, they had more bouncy castles than you could shake a stick at (not a sharp one of course) and even a live puppet show. There has to be music in all things in Tenerife and they did us proud with 14 groups gracing the large stage in Plaza del Candelaria just up from the port. The quirky Tizas En Las Botas went down well, Amatista with their very young and very good singers wowed the parents, Ledesma hit the rap target but Beat Tripper stole the show with their Beatles tribute. Not only were they visually and vocally like the originals, their costume quick change took the band through three stages of the Fab Four’s career. Most of all they were great fun and got the crowd rolling back the years, a passing local drunk dancer was just rolling, and during the encores two of the band ventured out among the shoppers to get them dancing.

The marching band had a tiring day patrolling the edges of the shopping areas hammering out a rhythm to drive shoppers from one section of stalls to another but it worked and even those in the smaller back streets heard their rusty tills ping into action. Cafes and bars were heaving, well it’s thirsty and hungry work shopping. The stretch by Plaza del Principe was the most densely packed with stalls and at times it was almost like a Carnaval afternoon with so many people flowing slowly. There are already plans to do similar events in some of the outskirts of Santa Cruz to give them a well needed pick up. These are testing times for the retail trade but at least it’s forcing the business community to come up with some new ideas.

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