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  • Venues all across the island are expected to come alive with the celebration of culture as Jamaicans observes Emancipation and Independence activities from July 31 to August 6.
  • In addition to the usual festivities there will some new events such as island-wide festival floats and street parade; and the festival bandwagon, which is a mobile showcase of the best talents from the parishes in the performing arts.
  • The major showcase will be the Grand Gala event on August 6th, at the National Stadium.

Venues all across the island are expected to come alive with the celebration of culture as Jamaicans observe Emancipation and Independence activities from July 31 to August 6.

In addition to the usual festivities there will be some new events such as island-wide festival floats and street parade; and the festival bandwagon, which is a mobile showcase of the best talents from the parishes in the performing arts.

Minister of Youth and Culture, Hon. Lisa Hanna, is encouraging Jamaicans to “get excited” and embrace their culture by participating in the activities.

She said the activities under the theme: “Proud and free… Jamaica 53,”will be diverse, appealing and attractive to a wide cross section of the society.

“Each community and rural township is expected to come alive. We are expecting to see town squares and villages, plazas and public parks colourfully decorated,” she said.

Ms. Hanna, who was addressing the launch of the Emancipation and Independence celebrations at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston on June 10, encouraged business places and offices to decorate their buildings in the national colours.

She noted that this year’s theme was chosen to “highlight and speak to how far we have come as an independent nation and the accomplishments experienced through the efforts and hard work of Jamaicans since Independence”.

“This year, we mark these highlights with the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Morant Bay Rebellion, the opening of the Simon Bolivar Centre, the establishment of the Jamaica Museum of Natural History, exhibitions at the National Gallery among other activities geared towards the reconstruction of downtown,” she informed.

Ms. Hanna also invited the public to participate in window dressing competitions; best decorated office/business contest for public and private sector organisations; and the competition for the media house, which demonstrates the ‘Best Spirit of Independence.’

There will also be awards for the advertising agency that best utilises the Independence theme in their promotional campaigns. In addition, there will be competition among the parish councils for the ‘Best Decorated Town’ for Independence.

Another new feature is the Market Place, where Coronation Market will be brought up-town to Hope Road.

Celebrations will kick off with the National Church Service on July 26 at the St. Jago De La Vega Cathedral at 10:00 a.m. This will be followed by the Emancipation vigil in all parishes on Friday, July 31.

Saturday, August 1, will mark Jamaica Day with the opening of the Independence Village at the Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre. The Independence Village will be held this year right up to August 6.

Turning to other celebration highlights, Miss Hanna noted that Sunday, August 2 is being designated as Family Day this year, and encouraged Jamaican families “to come together and share quality time,” including planning family excursions.

The major showcase will be the Grand Gala event on August 6th, at the National Stadium.

Jamaicans can also look forward to the usual activities, which include the selection of the Festival Song and the National Festival Queen; the Jamaica Gospel Song Showcase and Finals on August 2; Mello-go-roun on August 4; and World Reggae Dance Championship on August 5.