KINGSTON, Jamaica – Today (July 30) officially marks the starts of Jamaica Festival 2k9, a week-long celebration to mark the nation’s 47th year of Independence.

Mello Go Roun’, the most popular family show on the local calendar, will kick off the period and is scheduled for today (July 30) at the National Arena at 8pm. This year’s event is inspired by the acclaimed series ‘Ring Ding’ hosted by the Hon Louise Bennett-Coverley.

July 31 will see a number of vigils in tribute to the nation’s Emancipation hosted island-wide, followed by an event dubbed “Voice of Freedom, an Emancipation celebration scheduled for Emancipation Square, Spanish Town on August 1. Also on August 1, the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) will stage Augus’ Fair, a tribute to traditional Jamaican culture, followed by the World Reggae Dance Championship, both at the Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre.

A day of worship is organized for August 2, with a National Thanksgiving Service planned for the East Queen Street Baptist Church at 9am, followed by the Jamaica Gospel Song Finals at the Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre starting at 6pm.

August 5 will see a national forum on Emancipation and Independence being held at the Kingston Parish Library starting at 5pm. The key-note address will be delivered by Dr. the Hon. Barbara Gloudon, who will speak to the impact of cultural policies and cultural changes on Jamaica’s development since 1962.

The major highlight of Jamaica Festival 2k9 will be the Independence Street Parade and Grand Gala on August 6, hosted under the theme “Preserving the Positive- Shaping the Future”. Spectacular floats, costumed groups and more than two thousand performers accompanied by music trucks will enliven the streets of Kingston, followed by the gala, which will feature a pyrotechnics display and a reggae cabaret among other attractions.

“I Believe in Jamaica” is the overall theme for the 2009 Independence celebrations and underscores the initial message articulated by His Excellency the Most Honourable Patrick Allen O.N., C.D., Governor General of Jamaica. The theme speaks to an effort by the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) an agency of the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, to not only instill feelings of resilience, pride and confidence in our nation during the festive period, but a sustained spirit to boost our efforts at national achievements.

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