JIS News

Jamaica’s heritage and culture was part of the celebration of cultures worldwide, at the 12th annual KALEIDOSCOPE 2009, held on January 25, at the Meyer Amphitheatre in West Palm Beach, Florida, in the United States of America (USA).
More than 30,000 visitors turned out to participate in the all-day festival, which showcased cultural diversity and unity in Palm Beach County. This year’s celebration of cultures featured 15 villages, each representing a variety of topics highlighting the heritage and culture of designated countries representing the population make-up of that county. On show were multicultural entertainment, ethnic foods, an international bazaar, and a turn of the century interactive area, showcasing advancement in technology.
A joint effort of the City of West Palm Beach and the School District of Palm Beach County, the villages were mounted by students of several schools in the West Palm Beach area.
Mayor Lois Frankel praised them for the outstanding displays which, she said, demonstrated creativity, knowledge and innovative spirit.
This year’s celebration coincided with the centennial celebrations of Palm Beach County, which houses nearly 100 schools with more than 140 spoken languages, indicating the schools’ diverse population.
Several Jamaican students participated in the parade of pipes and drums, saluting the County’s centennial anniversary.
The display in the Jamaican village, while entertaining, was quite informative and was mounted by students of the Northmore Beacon School.
A selection of artifacts, historical books, art and photographs told the story of Jamaica’s development, highlighting periods of ‘Jamaica then (1907-1909); and now (2008)’. This was supported by pictorials and information depicting historical landmarks, modes of transportation and communication, and early inhabitants.
The students in the Jamaican village were dressed in the national costume of bandana fabric. These were sewn and donated by a parent-volunteer, Jacinth Rowlett of Palm Beach.
In an interview with JIS News, Co-ordinators of the Jamaican project, parent-volunteer, Betty Ann Rowlett and Community Liaison Officer, Hallie Balbuena, commended the students for their participation and keen interest taken in the completion of the project, which began last October.
Visitors to the Jamaican village received tokens and giveaways, donated by the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) and the Jamaica Information Service (JIS).
Palm Beach County is part of the tri-county area of South Florida, comprising a population of nearly 300,000 Jamaican nationals in Broward and Dade as well. Nationals in the Diaspora are active members of several community associations representing alumni bodies, and charitable and service organisations.

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