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Jamaica Celebrates Golden Anniversary With Islandwide Events Through 2012

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A wide array of events have been planned islandwide as Jamaica ramps up activities in observance of the island’s 50th Anniversary of Independence celebrations. With non-stop flights available from most major cities across the U.S., Jamaica is easily accessible and provides a tremendous value for travelers.


“This is a significant year for us as a destination and we’re encouraging visitors including Jamaicans living overseas to come celebrate this milestone and experience a host of on-island events throughout the year,” said John Lynch, Director of Tourism. “Now is a great time to book a Jamaican vacation and benefit from the special offers from a range of hotels and attractions.”


Below is a sampling of celebratory events for visitors to take part in throughout the year.




StyleWeek Jamaica/FashionBlock, May 23 – 30: Fashionistas from around the world will make a statement in the entertainment capital as organizers Saint International stage its 6th annual Style Week Jamaica. Style Week Jamaica/Fashion-Block, has become a major event on the Jamaican entertainment and fashion calendar. The three-day extravaganza includes multiple after parties, VIP cocktail receptions, fashion seminars and glamorous runway shows.


Caribbean Fashion Week, June 7 – 11: The region’s premier fashion and style event, will again be held at the National Indoor Sports Centre in the nation’s capital, highlighting the “best of the best” in fashion. Celebrating its 11th staging, the fashion collections will take centre stage at the week-long showcase, and will be enhanced with live entertainment packages, nightly parties as well as a major business forum.



Live Music Nation, Yearlong: Those eager to check out Kingston’s music scene can experience Live Music Nation, by attending one of the city’s weekly live music events, free to the public.

Each week music-lovers can enjoy 90-minute sets of Jamaican beats while enjoying the island’s signature cuisine and beverages. Visit the Live Music Nation website for venues as they change weekly.


Ocho Rios Jazz Festival, June 9-16: June is Jazz Month and again the event will offer exciting days of great music, superb entertainment and healthy family and community participation. This pure jazz festival includes international performers from Europe, the United States and the Caribbean along with renowned Jamaican jazz artistes.


Reggae Sumfest, July 15-22: This much anticipated annual Reggae event showcases the best talents in roots, rock and reggae music.  In keeping with the motto, ‘Promoting Music, the Universal Force’, each year, top Jamaican acts perform along with international artistes to a diverse audience.  As the festival says goodbye to its teenage years, and turn 20, the promoters of the premier event are pulling out all stops to ensure that this year’s staging surpasses everyone’s expectations. Previous headliners included: Chris Brown, Usher, R&B queen Mary J. Blige,  Neyo, Jasmin Sullivan, Kerry Hilson, , LL Cool J, Rihanna, 50-Cent & G-Unit, Missy Elliott, Morgan’s Heritage, Lil Wayne, Elephant Man, Beenie Man, Bounty Killa & others.




Kingston on the Edge Urban Art Festival, June 16-24: For art collectors, Kingston On The Edge (KOTE) provides a platform for contemporary artists to showcase work that pushes the boundaries of cutting-edge avant garde art.  This festival welcomes all artists, including those working in more traditional styles. KOTE will host multiple events to include visual art shows, movie showings, plays, concerts, an art auction, open houses, and digital/multi-media shows.




Wine & Food Festival, September 24: Boasting over 30 booths, this signature fundraising event, is held under the patronage of the Rt. Hon. Edward Zacca and his wife. Funds raised from this event are used for the Heart Foundation’s ongoing fight against heart disease in Jamaica. In addition to wine and food, companies are invited to showcase their heart healthy products to patrons.


Caribbean Broilers (CB) Pan Chicken Festival, November 18: Lovers of pan chicken, a unique Jamaican style grill, are in for a tasty treat during the flavorful festival in the cultural and entertainment capital, Kingston. Sponsored by Caribbean Broilers, the festival provides a platform for city cooks and chefs to showcase their mouth-watering dishes.  This year’s contest will include a series of entertaining, family-oriented, regional competitions at the Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre in Kingston on Saturday, May 27, at Dump Up Beach in Montego Bay on Saturday, June 30 and on Saturday, September 29 at Leiba’s Esso in Clarendon. The event culminates with an exciting grand finale on Sunday, November 18 and will be staged on the scenic waterfront of historic Downtown Kingston for the very first time.




Makka Pro Surf Contest, July 13-15: This highly anticipated surfing event brings together amateur and professional surfers from across the world to compete in a non-traditional and rustic setting. This Caribbean Challenge Cup series event is one of several events. Through the partnership with Jamaica Surfing Association, Caribbean Surf Network and Western Atlantic Pro Surf Series, Makka Pro has risen to new levels and has been attracting more competitors from a wider field.


Reggae Marathon, December 1:  Now in its 12th year, the Reggae Marathon Grand Prix Series – Reggae Marathon, Half Marathon & 10K has earned the reputation for being a well-organized international event, focused on runner enjoyment. Presented by Jamdammers, the event is now a staple on the local and international road race calendar. Participants combine an island vacation and a great sporting event for a truly unique experience.

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Written by Staff Writer