It was New Year’s Day and dozens of shopkeepers had met to celebrate their achievements of the past year. When we entered the well appointed venue, the scene reflected that of reverent disciples seated at the feet of the leader. If a pin had dropped, one would hear it. From the outside of Mark’s Bar & Barbecue, one would never have known there was an event taking place. Taitt Road, Brittons Hill, St Michael had been transformed into a quiet oasis of tonsorial and sartorial elegance for the industrious shopkeepers under the Magical Extravaganza banner. The night was special for these shopkeepers who, through co-operation, have been able to carve out a niche to keep their businesses afloat. Under the inspiring leadership of president Tony Welch, proprietor of Honey Dew Tavern, the shops were able to host limes during the past year with the support of members and supporters. They had been able to attract sponsorship of Voice Of Barbados (VOB) and underwent a rebranding which saw the limes being dubbed the VOB Magical Extravaganza. Industry partners Banks Breweries and Hanschell Inniss also offered support through sponsorship. The event was organized to recognize various people for their contribution to the success during 2012. One such person who was awarded for service was Jim Best, who was credited for capturing the mood of the limes every week through photographs which he posted on Facebook. The shopkeepers were awarded for the impact of their limes and the patrons they were able to attract to the limes which are held on Sunday nights. The sumptuous dinner was also a credit to the shopkeepers. The culinary experience was varied and matched the tastes of the folks gathered for this royal affair. The menu included tossed salad, potato salad, cole slaw, turkey, ham, fish, baked and steamed chicken, macaroni pie, corn pie, jug jug, potato pie, vegetable rice and peas and rice. The drinks menu was also wide ranging from the non-alcoholic wines up to the most potent of alcoholic beverages. Representing VOB was deejay Ian “Cupid” Gill who performed the roles of master of ceremonies and deejay. At the end of the feasting, Cupid turned Mark’s Place into a replica of the Magical Extravaganza with the music of the 1970s and 1980s added to the more recent calypsos that evoke the gyrations of the more modern dancehalls and fetes. The folks were in their element as they reflected on the successes of the previous year. They had previously been encouraged to maintain their standards as they package and brand their various products to meet the tastes of the discriminating consumers. The motivational speaker had showered them with praise for the role they have traditionally played in the Barbadian community and the role they continue to play as entrepreneurs in this modern day economy. For the night, they seemed to have thrown away any cares or fears which they may encounter on a daily basis. This was a time to celebrate the past year. They looked forward to a brighter year.