Jamaica’s heritage and culture was part of the celebration of cultures worldwide, at the 12th annual KALEIDOSCOPE 2009, held last Sunday (Jan. 25) at the Meyer Amphitheatre in West Palm Beach.
More than 30,000 visitors turned out to participate in the all-day festival showcasing cultural diversity and unity in Palm Beach County. This year’s celebration of cultures featured 15 villages, each representing a variety of topics highlighting heritage and culture of designated countries representing the population makeup of that County. Those included multicultural entertainment, ethnic foods, an international bazaar, and a turn of the century interactive area showcasing advancement in technology.
A joint effort of the City of West Palm Beach and the School District of Palm Beach County, the villages were mounted by students of several schools in the West Palm Beach area. Mayor Lois Frankel praised them for the outstanding displays which she said demonstrated creativity, knowledge and innovative spirit.
This year’s celebration coincided with the centennial celebrations of Palm Beach County which houses nearly 100 schools with more than 140 spoken languages indicating the schools’ diverse population.
Several Jamaican students participated the parade of pipes and drums saluting the County’s centennial anniversary.
Display in the Jamaican village while entertaining, was quite informative and was mounted by students of the Northmore Beacon School joined by volunteers from the community association, Jamaicans of the Palm Beaches spearheaded by past president, Ms. Marcia Bodden.
A selection of artifacts, historical books, art and photographs told the story of Jamaica’s development highlighting periods of “Jamaica then (1907 – 1909); and now (2008)”. This was supported by pictorials and information depicting historical landmarks, modes of transportation and communication, and early inhabitants.
Then, the information was forwarded to changes in the nation’s infrastructure, trade and development, and population growth.
The students in the Jamaican village were dressed in the national costume of bandana fabric. These were sewn and donated by a parent-volunteer, Ms. Jacinth Rowlett of Palm Beach.
In an interview with JIS, coordinators of the Jamaican project, parent-volunteer Ms. Betty Ann Rowlett and community liaison officer, Ms. Hallie Balbuena, commended the students for their participation and keen interest taken in the completion of the project, which was started last October.
Visitors to the Jamaican village received tokens and giveaways donated by the Jamaica Tourist Board and the Jamaica Information Service.
Palm Beach County is part of the tri-county area of South Florida comprising a population of nearly 300,000 Jamaican nationals in Broward and Dade as well. Nationals in the Diaspora are active members of several community associations representing alumni bodies, and charitable and service organizations.