JIS News

As part of the thrust towards community tourism, residents in Portmore in St. Catherine will be hosting the second annual ‘Craftfest’ this Sunday, October 26 from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the Portmore Heart Academy.
Propelled by the success of last year’s event, the organizers of the event, the Portmore ‘Craftfest’ Committee, will once again provide a medium for the exposure of indigenous art and craft creators from across the island.
Patrick Johnson, one of several Directors on the Portmore ‘Craftfest’ Committee, told JIS News that the event was about supporting Jamaica’s art and craft, not only in the community, but also in wider Jamaica. “It is something that really enhances the growth and development of the tourist industry,” he added.
Mr. Johnson predicted that the event would be “bigger and better” this time around, after lessons learnt from the previous festival. “We started promoting the event much earlier,” he said, noting that the work of some of the country’s major art and craft manufacturers would be on display.
“We have quite a number of persons who are doing not just the traditional things in terms of bamboo and so on, but also things in leather and straw. Jewellery, ceramics, pottery, and horticultural wares like plants will be on display. Persons will also be doing local dishes,” he said.
The intent of the Committee, Mr. Johnson said, was to have products of top class quality. “Actually, we test the things to see that the quality can stand the test of local and foreign buyers,” he pointed out.
The day-long event will be interspersed with a variety of entertainment options, offering something for everyone in the family. “There will be a pop concert and also a gospel concert, in addition to a number of attractions for youngsters, such as face painting, kiddies rides, donkey rides, magicians, clowns, bounce-a-bouts, simulators and others,” Mr. Johnson said.
Among the acts booked to perform are Peter Lloyd, Goddy Goddy, Chosen Vessel, Apache Chief and Sammy Question. Also on hand will be the Portmore Dancers, Waterford Drummers, and a Mento Band, among others.
Proceeds from the event will go to the Art and Craft Departments of Waterford Secondary School and Ascot High School. “We are looking forward to a successful event this year. We also see the event as something that will pull the community together, in light of the recent social problems, and we do hope that it will galvanize the community to focus on their cultural expressions as much as possible,” Mr. Johnson said.
The ‘Craftfest’ is the brainchild of Rupert Walters, a resident of Portmore, who came up with the idea three years ago.
“The event is also one way of encouraging persons to get involved with the art and craft industry, so that the industry can be fully sustained,” Mr. Johnson explained.

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