Wed | Jan 27, 2021

Jamaica Rum Festival 2020 set to Excite

Published:Friday | January 17, 2020 | 12:31 AMKrysta Anderson/ - Gleaner Writer

Green carpet paved the gastronomic gateway to a hidden tropical oasis at the launch of Jamaica Rum Festival (JRF) 2020, held on Wednesday night. Landmark for landmark, it was only fitting that the organisers kicked off the second staging of this pioneering event at the East Lawns of the historic Devon House.

“Rum indulgers, I raise my hand and say toast.” The declaration offered by host Debbie Bissoon gave way to Koffee’s hit song, bringing guests together in celebration. The festival aspires to awaken all of your senses with its exciting ‘edu-tainment’ package, highlighting the heritage of Jamaica’s beloved rums discovering their unique origins from cane to cocktail.

Festival Director Valon Thorpe shared insights into this year’s execution, “We will be taking over both sides of Palm Drive in Hope Gardens. As you exit the entry tunnel, patrons can head to the Heritage House, boasting a 270-year history of Jamaican rum production, chronicling the journey from cane to cocktail.”


Guest will have the option of going to the right for the food court and seminar areas, and because the team saw an oversubscription in seminar houses, there will be not one, but two, featuring Appleton Estate Jamaica Rums’ Master Blender Dr Joy Spence, and Senior Blender David Morrison. “Our rum sponsors will also be presenting seminars over the two days,” he added. The festival will also feature local artisans with made in Jamaica products on display for purchase.

A few were present at the launch, giving away sweet mementos to guests. For your sipping pleasure, there will be a 360 bar where you can drink responsibly. And the entertainment segment will be sure to have you rocking to smooth melodies and dancing in yardie-style frenzy.

Also making appearances on the main stage were speakers like Christopher Gentles, general manager of the Spirits Pool Association, who took us to school, giving us lessons on the beginnings of rum, from the days of slavery to being the ultimate party staple. Marsha Lumley, marketing director in Jamaica and the Caribbean for J. Wray & Nephew Limited, always in the right spirit, expressed pleasure in being the presenting rum sponsor of JRF 2020, “The Appleton rum experience is at the heart of Jamaica and we’re happy to bring a bit of island golden spirit in every glass locally, in the Caribbean and around the globe.”

And, finally, Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett said: “We’re honoured to partner with this initiative and make Jamaica Rum Festival a leading product. Rum is a critical asset which is a part of the heart and the soul of the people.”

From there, specially invited guests mingled with sponsors over rum mixes and the delectable delights provided by chef and caterer André Sewell.