Falmouth’s Mayor and Trelawny Municipal Corporation Chairman, Councillor Collen Gager, was among the regulars attending the annual Trelawny Picnic in New York, on Sunday (May 29).
Returning after a two-year COVID-enforced absence, the event drew more than 3,000 Trelawnyites from across the United States, Canada, and Jamaica to the Rockland County State Park, in Nyack, upstate New York.
Mayor Gager, who toured the grounds and greeted picnic goers, welcomed the opportunity afforded “to sell Falmouth, and Trelawny as a whole.”
He indicated that ground will be broken on June 17 for the construction of a new fire station in southern Trelawny and before that, on June 16, “we will be having the handover of the repaired market and transportation centre in Clark’s Town.”
“We have constructed a drop-in centre, which will house the homeless on a nightly basis. This is the first of its kind outside of Kingston, where we feed the homeless,” the Mayor added.
Custos Rotulorum for Trelawny, Hon. Hugh Gentles, in a message read at the event, thanked the organisers and visitors for “staying the course with us for 42 years, through thick and thin.”
“The contribution of the Diaspora to Jamaica is special. You, as sons and daughters of Trelawny, have helped us to evolve as a parish; to grow in a sustainable way, in line with global changes. We can overcome social challenges effectively with your support; and so we cherish our enduring relationship,” he said.
Also attending the picnic was another regular guest, Councillor for the Falmouth Division, Garth Wilkinson.
By midday, the numbers had swelled, with families, friends and acquaintances hailing from all corners of Trelawny, coming together to have a grand time.
They took with them tents, Reggae music, fancy grills as well as their famous Trelawny yam stuffed with cod fish and ackee, and roasted breadfruit on the side, along with other Jamaican delicacies that were all shared, not sold.
The event was conceptualised over 40 years ago by friends from Falmouth – Horace Harrison, Linval Brown, Richard Chambers, Eli Nish, Mr. and Mrs. D.K. Mullings, and Peter HoShing.
Mr. Chambers said the picnic evolved from a 1970s Bronx, New York backyard barbeque for people from Falmouth. Over the years, it has been a draw for Trelawnyites from far and wide.
“In a short while, it became known as the Falmouth Picnic. We then started to invite friends from Duncans, Clark’s Town and other areas of the parish,” he recounted.
“As the gathering grew, it took on the name of the ‘Trelawny Day Picnic’ and has ballooned to the extent that, one year, we had over 6,000 people at the upstate New York meeting place, all claiming to be from Trelawny,” Mr. Chambers added.