'Tis the season for shopping and anticipation is high as preparation intensifies for one of Jamaica's best shopping events, The Gleaner-sponsored Boom Christmas in the City: Downtown Comes Alive, where shoppers will benefit from great deals and discounts on a variety of household and food items.
From the crack of dawn on Wednesday, bargain hunters will be able to cash in on deals and discounts as high as 50 per cent on some items in downtown Kingston. "It is promising to be very exciting. As you know downtown Kingston is a magnet and we expect that it is going to be big this year," said Errol Greene, town clerk of the Kingston and St Andrew Corporation which organises the event. "In downtown Kingston you get the best deals!" he boasted.
With this being the third year of the event, Greene says there is widespread support from all merchants in the commercial district and emphasises that provisions, such as relaxed parking and entertainment, will be in place to make it an enjoyable experience for shoppers.
"All the merchants downtown are on board and we find that the boundaries get wider every year because even though it was intended to be like the King Street/Orange Street corridor, it has spread out so far and wide that it covers not just the shopping district of downtown, but also the market district," he said. "It is something now that has become a calendar event for the city."
The entire South Parade and King Street will be pedestrianised and bus stops in those areas will be relocated to West Parade for the night. Already known as a shopping mecca, both vendors and shoppers who frequent the area are looking forward to the great deals that will be available on the day. "I always shop downtown and I will definitely be here on Wednesday because me want to get some of the cheap things," said Audrey yesterday while she did her regular weekly shopping downtown.
"Of course, I want to get bargains and I will be coming downtown to shop for my Christmas," added Stacy as she tried to balance two shopping bags in the mid-morning heat downtown Kingston yesterday.
Ace dancehall entertainer Baby Cham will headline the entertainment package for the night. The others in the line-up are: Tifa, Konshens, Chino, Tarrus, Chan Dizzy, DJ Firestarter and Ity & Fancy Cat. The main show will get under way at 8 p.m. and will be emceed by popular radio personality Miss Kitty.
Greene said the police will be out in full force to provide adequate security for shoppers on the grand shopping night which will officially end at 10 p.m. However, given the usually strong support from shoppers whom he said comes from all over the island, stores and vendors are expected to be out much later.
In the past years, "merchants felt good, shoppers felt good, vendors and everybody felt good and what we normally do every year is that the Saturday (December 17) after the event, the vendors in Coronation Market would give their own discounts," Greene pointed out, adding that "every year it gets bigger and bigger because people leave from all over Jamaica to come to this event". Although the usual fashion show will be absent from this year's entertainment package, the chief organiser said, "we are going to be having enough entertainment so that when you come you will be entertained while you shop and the most important thing is that the bargains are there".
Wisynco's Boom Energy Drink is the title sponsor of this year's event like last year. Wisynco's trade marketing manager, Karen Rosen, is anticipating widespread support for Boom Christmas in the City: Downtown Comes Alive.
"It's all about creating a safe, enjoyable atmosphere for downtown Kingston where people from anywhere in Jamaica can feel that they can shop without fear of anything," she says.
The other sponsors of Boom Christmas in the City: Downtown Comes Alive are: The Gleaner Company Limited, Urban Deve-lopment Corporation, Jamaica Chamber of Commerce and LIME.