Forty years promoting Panama’s handicrafts

El artista Tomas Orozco, muestra algunas de sus artesanías en el Mercado Nacional de Artesanías.

This post is also available in: Spanish

The fortieth version of the Panama’s National Handicrafts Fair will be held from Wednesday, July 26 to Sunday, July 30 in the Las Islas and Las Totumas halls of the Atlapa Convention Center in San Francisco.

This national fair gathers under one roof more than 540 craftsmen from all provinces of the country, who during the days of the fair will offer their products from the different artisan branches, such as fiber work, pottery, carved wood, textiles, jewelry, costume jewelery, handicrafts, plastic arts and traditional masks.

The artist Tomas Orozco, shows some of his handicrafts in  the National Handicrafts Market.

The artist Tomas Orozco, shows some of his handicrafts in the National Handicrafts Market.

During the five days of the fair, the attending public, in addition to being able to appreciate and purchase unique pieces of local crafts, can enjoy a program of presentations and traditional expressions, with more than 150 folk groups performing at different times.

Among these presentations are, parades and folkloric dances, a contest of costumes made by Panamanian craftsmen, polleras manufacturing contest, a contest to choose the best stand dedicated to the renowned Panamanian artisan, originally from Guararé, Porf. Doris Saavedra de Saavedra. Prizes will also be awarded to the best craftsman and the most innovative craftsman.

The winning pieces of handicrafts from these categories will be exhibited later in the Museum of Handicrafts of the National Handicrafts Market located in the archaeological complex of Panama Viejo.

The audience will also be able to enjoy live performances by renowned musicians such as Ulpiano Vergara on Wednesday, July 26, Samy and Sandra Sandoval on Thursday 27, the calypso band from Bocas del Toro “The Beachers” on Friday 28, a “Cantadera” evening on Saturday 29 and a Musical closing on Sunday 30 with presentations by the singers, Manuel de Jesus Abrego and Abdiel Nuñez.

A Panamanian craftsman works on a piece of carved wood.

A Panamanian craftsman works on a piece of carved wood.

Likewise, the Autoridad de la Micro Pequeña y Mediana Empresa – Ampyme, will offer a variety of workshops to support the artisan, including “How to run a business”. The General Directorate of Crafts of the Ministry of Trade and Industry – MICI said that it will expand the knowledge of the craftsman in modern techniques of preparation.

The National Handicrafts Fair began as a project in 1977, and since then has become the most important annual event organized by the MICI, where the most select local handicraft producers are concentrated, offering to thousands of people both national and visitors, an excellent opportunity to buy, at acceptable prices, items and reminders native to Panama.

Since its creation, the MICI has sought to provide local artisans with the opportunity to have an annual space for the exhibition and sale of their products, that also serves as a showcase to show the artisan wealth that Panama offers to the public.

The National Handicrafts Fair will be open from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Wednesday 26 and from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. from Thursday 27 to Sunday, July 30. Admission is $3 for general admission, $1.50 seniors and $1 for children and students. For more information visit


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