Scores of persons converged on the National Stadium grounds on Monday (August 1) to purchase fresh produce and partake in culinary delights and cultural offerings as the popular Augus’ Mawnin Market returned.
The Emancipation Day event coincided with the opening of the Jamaica 60 Independence Village inside the stadium complex.
It kicked off a week-long slate of activities being staged by the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) at the venue in Kingston to commemorate the country’s Diamond Jubilee.
Patrons made purchases at the farmers’ market, while enjoying traditional culinary items such as chocolate tea, cornmeal and potato puddings, saltfish fritters, roasted breadfruit, ackee and saltfish, jerked chicken and pork, coconut drops, gizzadas, and grater cake.
The event also featured cultural activities such as the Maypole, and traditional dance forms such as ‘Bruckins’, ‘Dinki Mini’ and ‘Kumina’ that were performed by schools and community groups, as well as games for the children.
Public and private sector entities and individuals mounted booths showcasing their goods and services. These included Bank of Jamaica (BOJ), HEART/NSTA Trust, Institute of Jamaica (IOJ), the Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA), Jamaica Biscuit Company, and Access Financial Services Limited.
Emerging and established micro, small and medium enterprises also used the opportunity to display their products.
Owner and operator of apparel line – Romeo and Juliet Memorabilia – Juliet Rattray Moodie, who has participated in the event on at least five occasions, told JIS News that “it’s great to be out again” after the two-year break due to COVID-19.
“I got the chance to meet face-to-face with friends again. We didn’t see each other for two years and now we are back here together. It’s all good,” she said.
Mrs. Rattray Moodie, who specialises in Jamaican-branded dresses, hats, T-shirts and bags, as well as school hats, noted that this year’s staging of the market and by extension, the Independence Village, have been expanded compared to other years.
This, she pointed out, “will add a little extra excitement to our Jamaica 60 celebrations.”
She is anticipating a significant turnout of patrons for the week of events slated for the Village and expects that she and other exhibitors will benefit in terms of product sales.
“I believe a lot of people will come out. We have always had nightly shows and for those, the turnout is usually very good. So, I’ll be here for the entire week,” Mrs. Rattray Moodie said.
Patron, Victoria Francis, who was attending the market for the first time, said the return “is a good thing.”
“COVID-19 took away two years from us so I think we’re going to have something special [this] week. We are giving God thanks that we are able to attend,” she told JIS News.
Her friend and church sister, Lorna Perry, added that it was a “blessing to have the market back”, among the other celebratory activities.
“For the past two years, we were shut in and nothing was happening. So, we are grateful to have it back for the 60th Independence Anniversary. Everything is looking good,” she said.
Returning resident, Dawn Perry, told JIS News that she liked everything she saw and experienced on Monday.
“Absolutely. I’m rediscovering my culture. I’m trying to do as much as I possibly can to reengage my mind to the Jamaican culture. So, I am glad to come here and see things like the Maypole and the Mento Music and all the products and things that you can buy that are made by Jamaicans. I’m just happy to be here to support our people,” she told JIS News.
The other major activities on Monday include the Independence Float and Street Parade, which traversed several streets across the Corporate Area before culminating at the National Stadium Complex.
The Miss Jamaica Festival Queen Grand Coronation will be held at the National Indoor Sports Centre in the evening.
Events marking Jamaica’s Diamond Jubilee will culminate with the Grand Gala inside the National Stadium on Independence Day, Saturday, August 6.