Fri | Apr 19, 2019

Pan-sport centre - Pan chicken competition could find permanent home in HWT

Published:Monday | November 7, 2016 | 12:00 AMShereita Grizzle
Tarrus Riley (left) and Iba Mahr performing at the Half-Way Tree Transport Centre, St Andrew, last Sunday at the Pan 2016 final.
Part of the audience for the Pan 2016 final.
Alicia Bogues, brand manager, Caribbean Broiler Group (right), and Elizabeth Swaby, Pepsi-Cola brand manager, at the Pan 2016 finals.
The very excited 2016 CB Pan Chicken competition winner, Terry-Ann Davidson (second left), holds up her trophy next to (from right) CB Chicken mascot Chikky, CB Chicken’s Alicia Bogues; National Continental Baking Company’s Lisa Tomlinson, JNBS’s Laurel Whyte; JN Small Business Loans’ Jacqueline Shaw-Nicholson; Red Stripe’s Michelle Cunningham, and last year’s champion, Dwayne Green.
The Half-Way Tree Transport Centre in regular use as a Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) hub.

Based on the success of Pan 2016, hosted by CB Foods last Sunday, it seems the annual competition may have found a permanent home at the Half-Way Tree Transport Centre, according to brand manager of CB Foods Alicia Bogues.

In an interview with The Gleaner Bogues expressed huge satisfaction at the support the event received, stating that the move from downtown Kingston to Half-Way Tree pulled a record crowd. "We were expecting a large crowd, but not from that early in the day; absolutely not. From the gates opened, there were like 3,000 people who turned up, which is not typical of the event, as we expect the crowd later on the day," she said.

Explaining the venue change, Bogues said: "This year, because our regionals went to different locations, we decided to also do the same for the final. I wanted it to be innovative, and I think, all in all everybody was really pleased."

However, that sentiment was not shared by some patrons. The Gleaner spoke to quite a few persons at the event who expressed dissatisfaction, particularly with the venue as they believed it was too small for the massive crowd. Admitting that the crowd was larger than anticipated, Bogues promised to fix the space issue in the years to come.

"I mean, by 4p.m., 10,000 armbands were finished," she said, explaining that having seen how the event turned out her team is doing their evaluation and will be ironing out some details to ensure a smoother staging in 2017. "It was our first time in the venue and I know that we had one or two shortcomings. But I mean, when people descend upon a venue, like they did in Half-Way Tree, I can only try to create a better system going forward," Bogues said.

Bogues said she is well aware that there were many patrons who were disappointed that they did not get to taste the pan chicken offerings, as all the chicken inside the venue was sold out from early in the night. "We cannot control the crowd and we actually brought more chicken than we've ever brought. It's just that we had such a bumper crowd," she said. "We now have a better understanding of what to expect, so we have to make all the necessary provisions to make it better. One thing with Pan is that, every year, we acknowledge all the things that could make it better and plan for the future."

Despite the shortcomings, Bogues said the Half-Way Tree staging was a hit and it may be the venue for the competition for years to come. "That is the ultimate goal. This was our first year and we had an overwhelming success. We loved the venue. There is something very cool about being in Half-Way Tree. It's the heartbeat of the city and we want to share the Pan movement with more people," Bogues said.