Cabbrina Lennox, Gleaner Writer
PORT MARIA, St Ann:
THE CURTAIN came down in fine style on the Jamaica 50 celebrations in Port Maria on Monday, the day the country celebrated its Golden Jubilee.
The Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC), in collaboration with the St Mary Jamaica 50 Parish Planning Committee, had planned a series of events leading up to Independence Day.
On the morning of the nation's Golden Jubilee, 37 uniformed groups paraded around the parish capital to the beat of the Annotto Bay Marching Band. That segment culminated at the Claude Stuart Park, where preparations were being made for the grand finale.
The schedule for the day's events was packed with entertainment that brought out a massive crowd.
Denise Morrison, JCDC parish manager for St Mary, said she was proud of the turnout.
"The ting tun up, man! This is a great turnout! I'm happy because we worked very hard to make all our street dances spectacular. I don't believe in street dance where people just turn up and we just play music. Since I came to the parish six years ago, I have worked hard to change that. I used members from the performing arts and JCDC winners and runner-ups to enhance the show and make it entertaining," she explained.
Items such as gas lanterns, coconut brushes, bottle torches, an old spring bed, a three-foot pot otherwise called a yabba pot, and manual meat grinders were on display.
Traditional Jamaican cuisine such as 'Hell a Tap', 'Hell a Batam', and 'Hallelujah in the Middle', dukuno, coconut drops, and grater cakes were done on the spot.
Performances came from the Boscobel Primary School, the Islington Culture Group, and Retreat Primary and Junior High School.
There was also a gospel concert and the crowd was in no hurry to leave as Inner Touch Band set the stage for the night with praise and worship.
JCDC gold medallists Bruce Weatherburn and Chrissann Blake sang their hearts out and had the crowd singing and dancing. The crowd transformed into a carnival like atmosphere as top performers for the night, George Banton and Lubert Levy and Levy's Heritage, had them on their feet singing and dancing.
"It has been a tiring, but fulfilling undertaking, but we look forward to making it better next year. My vision for 2030 is to see Jamaicans more culturally aware, and we all have a safe environment in which to live and raise our families," Morrison told The Gleaner.
Photos by Cabbrina Lennox