Thousands of shoppers are expected to descend on downtown Kingston next weekend to take advantage of a massive shopping extravaganza organised by the Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation in partnership with the merchants and vendors.
Dubbed the ‘Downtown Sizzling Summer Savings', stakeholders are promising to have prices slashed as much as 70 per cent on some items from Thursday, July 26 to Saturday, July 28.
Mayor of Kingston, Angela Brown Burke, who announced details at the launch on Tuesday (July 17) at St. William Grant Park, said ‘Downtown Sizzling Summer Savings’ is just one of the planned activities to mark Jamaica's 50th year of Independence and the 140th anniversary of the City of Kingston as capital of Jamaica.
She expressed the hope that the massive sale "will serve to inject new life into shopping downtown."
Mayor Burke said downtown will be transformed into a shopper’s paradise, with the participation of stores in the market district. The St. William Grant Park, normally a no vending area, will be outfitted to accommodate registered vendors. Shopping hours will be extended over the three days from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
The rigid parking rules will be somewhat relaxed, but shoppers are still being asked not to park close to fire hydrants or block spots marked for the disabled.
Town Clerk, Errol Greene, explained that vendors will have to be registered in order to participate. Fees range from $20,000 for the three days (including a tent, electricity, table and identification card) to $6, 000 for itinerant vendors. No vending will be allowed around the park.
The event has received full endorsement from President of the Vendors and Higglers Association, Dunstan Whittingham, who promised great deals for shoppers. He said the registration fee is fair and noted that the final price was agreed on after days of negotiation.
First Vice President of the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce (JCC), Francis Kennedy, also gave his support, noting that the JCC is happy to be partnering with the KSAC to put on something “extra, extra special” in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Independence.
He said that shopkeepers and merchants on South Parade, Church, King , Beckford, Orange and Princess Streets, have all agreed to sign on to the extravaganza. They will be offering deals from 15 to 30 per cent off the price of goods.
Commanding Officer of Kingston Central Division, Superintendent Steve McGregor promised safety for shoppers. He noted that downtown “is a safe place to be” and assured that the police are on top of managing crime in the area.
In addition to the shopping, there will be two concerts on Friday and Saturday nights, sponsored by Digicel and the Gleaner, respectively, featuring world renowned artistes. There will also be a Kiddies Village with rides, face painting, clowns and many other delights.
Other Jamaica 50 activities planned by the KSAC include the presentation of 50 certificates to visitors coming to Jamaica to join in the festivities at the Norman Manley International Airport.
Mayor Burke also informed that later in the month, screens will be installed downtown to broadcast live feed of the Olympic events, thus making it a venue where Jamaicans can come together to enjoy the games.
By Andrea Braham