GRAND GALA came early for residents of the Waterhouse community who decided to stage one of their own instead of waiting on the spectacle at the National Stadium on Monday.
The sound of folk music emanating from a sound system at the Balmagie playing field, along with the sight of children decked out in bandanas and black, green and gold showed that the organisers had all the right concepts.
But wait! There was more. Patrons who turned out at the mini gala could get their hands on almost all of the traditional Jamaican delicacies.
The group, Parents for Peace, Progress and Prosperity, made sure that the rundung, dukunoo, coconut drops, jackass corn, and ginger ale were done just right to keep the children coming back for more.
"The children are really curious. Some of them are having rundung for the first time, so they keep asking a lot of questions. They are especially curious about the blue draws wrapped in banana leaf," said Marjorie Williams, vice-president of the group.
The coconut brush and the traditional clothes iron on display also aroused curiosity.
"We have decided to roll back the curtains and, as such, we have selected the theme 'Honouring our Past, Embracing our Future'," said Angella Gordon-Simms, president of the Waterhouse Community Development Committee (CDC).
In staying true to the theme, a number of residents who have positively impacted the community over the years were recognised.
"We are honouring our achievements. There is a level of growth in our community, both academically and otherwise. There was a time when a pure badman used to run the place, but our people are educated now; we don't have that," the CDC president said.
"Earlier, we had a march around the entire community, which took us inside the Wailers community, which has always been one of those areas in Waterhouse that most people were afraid to enter because of the violence. But today, we have done that. It proves that things have changed for the better," Gordon-Simms added.