The Independence weekend is set to be a resplendent and lively blast of black, green and gold.
First up is the Jamaica Culture Day, taking place as ever at Cardinall Avenue. Expect plenty of good eats including of course jerk, ackee and saltfish, mannish water, curry goat and all the delicious tastes of the nation. There will also be arts and crafts in abundance to help the day go with a creative swing. As ever, entry is free although of course those marvellous dishes are always well worth paying for. That one’s from 7am to 5pm. There’s also a lunch hour cultural presentation, performing artist meet and great and more. The evening sees night activities at Godfrey Nixon Way’s Reflections parking lot. Expect gospel music plus the independence message of the Prime Minister, presented by the honorary Jamaican Consul. The show’s headlined by Romain Virgo and Roy Rayon and admission is free.
On Saturday, 4 August, another quintessentially Caribbean way to celebrate takes place, centred around Smith Road cricket oval. A special challenge match between a Rest of the World XI and a Jamaica XI is scheduled and with invited guests including Jamaica’s cricket captain, Tamar Lambert and former players Delroy Morgan and Nehemiah Perry it should prove to be awesome. There’s also a domino challenge, which organisers hope to be Jamaica vs Rest of the World, bounceabouts, kids’ activities and of course that gorgeous Jamaican food and drink on sale. Entry is free.
On Sunday, 5 August, the All Nations United Pentecostal Church on Woodlake Drive hosts an Ecumenical and Thanksgiving service. Anniversary Day is Monday, 6 August ,and there will be a flag raising service at the Jamaican Consulate Office on Dorcy Drive.
Cayman Brac also gets a good look in of course. Roy Ryan, Jamaican superstar, is one of many attractions to a special variety concert at the Aston Rutty Centre on Saturday, 4 August. The Jambrac choral, Jambrac dancers and Cordell Smith will also be there and the voting will take place for Jamaican of the Year. It starts at 7.30pm and costs $10 for adults, $5 for the kids.
On Sunday, 5 August, the Alexander Hotel hosts the Independence 50 banquet. Guests are encouraged to dress in black, green and gold and the theme is A Time To Remember. Guest speaker will be announced closer to the time and the Prime Minister’s message will be read by the newly-crowned Jamaican of the Year. This one’s $15 and dishes include all the usual Jamaican foods.
In the evening of Monday, 6 August, at 7pm the Aston Rutty Centre is again the place to be with a free gospel concert and service. All are encouraged to attend and join in prayers and praise for Jamaica and Cayman. Although it is of course free to get in, there will be a collection, with the proceeds going to Hear the Children’s Cry Ministry of Jamaica plus Feed Our Future of Cayman Brac and Grand Cayman.
Celebrations continue on Saturday, 11 August, with a jerk festival at Layman Scott Sr. High School from 6pm. It’s $25 to enter the contest. Participants need to bring their own jerk pan but can make as much jerk as they like which will then be sold. Part of the proceeds will go to charity. There’s also entertainment, music and a dominoes play-off and it’s free for everyone to get in.