Fri | Jan 18, 2019

Wrapping for Alpha - Downtown Christmas Market gift packaging to benefit institute

Published:Friday | December 22, 2017 | 12:03 AMStephanie Lyew
Students of Alpha Institute

A Saturday in downtown Kingston is not as busy as individuals may think it is. At least, that's what event coordinator and entrepreneur Maelle Johnston has observed.

Johnston has acquired the assistance of F&B on Harbour Street to host Downtown Christmas Market tomorrow from approximately 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. "We are all about community development. We support the local arts and anything that will contribute to the future growth of downtown," said Jessica Cargill, operations manager at F&B.

In addition to the market, the vendors have agreed to 'wrap for a cause'. Consumers will be able to pay a small price to have gifts wrapped on-site, with all proceeds going to the Alpha Institute.

"The Alpha Institute (formerly Alpha Boys School) has quite a few programmes, and in the season of giving, we decided to do something that would benefit them," Johnston said. The Institute is on South Camp Road.


F&B's history


Downtown Kingston has been a part of F&B's history since it started on King Street as Swiss Stores in 1935, then moved to its current location 23 years later. Cargill said that the store usually opened on the Sunday before Christmas, but has decided to extend the space to 15 local vendors and artisans to showcase their products for the market.

"It is for the customers and passers-by to see the potential of downtown and the creativity of local artisans. While doing gift shopping (because it really does cater to last-minute shoppers) it helps individuals to develop a network and speak to each vendor directly," Johnston said.

Alpha Institute will not be part of the entertainment, but Johnston spoke passionately about its progress, and its curriculum that also gives students exposure to trade and music production, among other areas.

Jeremy Ashbourne, son of musicians Rosina Christina Moder and Peter Ashbourne and a multi-instrumentalist, is voluntarily providing sound equipment for the event. Ashbourne is also helping to coordinate the entertainment which includes performances by a number of live musicians and Dub school.




"The Downtown Christmas Market is not just about creating a place for vendors to come together, but a special event as the year closes that will show elements of our culture and showcase talent inside the beautiful setting of F&B on Harbour Street," Johnston continued.

It is hoped that this will be the start of similar events hosted by F&B Downtown, as Cargill told The Gleaner "it will become a regular event and it is expected that our business can bring more action and a great mix of people to downtown for 2018."