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Calabash Is Back On, May 22, 2009, Treasure Beach, Jamaica

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Miracles happen. At Calabash we’ve always known this to be true. At the first Calabash in 2001, a flock of yellow butterflies hovered like a mist over the festival tent on the first day. They stayed with us until the final day, when they disappeared. What could that have been but a miracle?

On Friday, March 27, we experienced our most recent miracle ­ the Jamaica Tourist Board informed us that they’re committing US$40,000 to the festival. A few minutes later, the CHASE Fund informed us of their commitment to fund the festival for the next three years.

And so it is, that on Friday, May 22, the 9th annual Calabash International Literary Festival will take place at Jakes, in Treasure Beach, St. Elizabeth.

We’d lik e to thank the members of the boards of these two organizations.  They have made it possible for this festival that means so much to so many people to continue giving of itself to all those who hold it dear. This list includes hotel operators, taxi drivers, restaurant owners, booksellers, fishermen, artisans, massage therapists. People who sell fruit.

The list would not be complete, however, without the mention of the people of Treasure Beach and their elected representatives past and present. Ordinary citizens at other times of the year ­ they transform themselves into maitre’ds and concierges at festival time. They become mayors. They become tour guides. They treat each and every one of the thousands of people who come to visit like a princess or a prince.

To the people of Treasure Beach we want to say, “Thanks for your faith. Thank s for your dignity. Thanks for your annual contribution of spirit and sweat and imagination. Without you, this festival could not exist.”

Finally, we’d like to thank the thousands of people who come to the festival every year. You are the reason why we exist. You are a part of what will go down in history as THE MIRACLE OF 2009. Your letters and phone calls did not just reach the ears of power. They went to the ears of all the gods of all the tribes of all the people whose ancestors now call this Jamaica their home. Friends, Calabashers, your passion will continue to make our hearts flutter like the wings of those yellow butterflies that hovered over us on that very first day nine years ago.

We remain humbled by all the love we’ve been shown. We also remain emboldened to fight for what we know to be beautiful and true. And there is nothing mor e beautiful than to see people gathered together in peace and love.

Thanks for helping us to be the greatest little festival in the greatest little district in the greatest little country in the world.

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Written by Staff Writer