La Feria del Mercado's Overwhelming Opening Made for a Disappointing Day Two

La Feria del Mercado de San Miguel, a Spanish pop-up food market inspired by the 100-year-old Madrid version, was set to open for its second day in Bayfront Park Saturday morning. Yet rather than getting the anticipated bites of gourmet tapas and beloved flavors of local vendors, guests were greeted by a tent of empty kiosks surrounded by caution tape.

About two hours past the planned opening time of 10 a.m., visitors were able to enter, but only for drinks at the bar. Employees rushed to pour drinks and unload boxes of supplies, frantic from what was clearly a lack of preparation. By 1:15 p.m., freshly sliced jámon from the Cinco Jotas cart was the only edible attraction in sight.

This may sound like a disaster, but it was actually the result of too much success the previous day. According to operation director Alexandra Ferrer, the event prepared for 250 guests on day one, but about 1,000 showed up.

“It was a mess,” Ferrer said. The mess was made even more disappointing by the tent’s colorful, beautifully exotic feel, which set expectations high from the first glance. Bright red and yellow paper decorations were strung from the ceiling’s center, and ornately decorated carts lined the perimeter. A crisp and clean backlit tower of a bar was the glowing centerpiece, promising an upscale revamping of the classic food-market concept.

Fortunately, La Feria has plenty of time to get itself together. The market is set to remain open through January 31, 2016, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 10 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday. Once they smooth out this bumpy start, the event may become a culinary highlight of Miami weekends.

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