The Fair of the Sea (Feria del Mar)is a four-day festival held on Playa El Ismito just north of Bocas town to celebrate the island’s fishing traditions. This is the largest local festival on the island. Indian craftsmen and women come from all the other islands to sell their masks, molas, leather sandals, and jewelry.
The street is closed to traffic and filled with booths and stands. The booths feature crafts, gifts, clothing and cheap plastic toys as well as many, many stands offering local cuisine favorites. You can find roast chicken, pork and fish dishes all offered with rice and beans of course.
No festival is complete in Bocas without music and the Feria del Mar is no exception. Stages are erected on the beach for various performers from local school children to Panamanian Rock, Calypso and, Reggae bands.
The Department of Agriculture has a building at the fair which features local flora and crafts. The Smithsonian Institute also has an exhibit featuring their work including their research on mangrove sustainability and local water quality done at their research facility on the island.
The local families bring their children to enjoy the pony rides and children’s game booths and the tourists and Bocas adults partake in the gambling games and the many rum drinks and beer available on the street.
In the daytime the Feria del Mar is pretty much a family affair but at night it can get pretty rowdy after the children go home and the Feira takes on a more adult flavor. Drinks can be had for .50 cents and the party normally does not stop till the sun comes up. Local radio stations and companies sponsor all night dance parties and the locals all come out for them.