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Jamaica Independence celebrations get underway in South Florida

MIAMI – As Jamaica gets ready to celebrate its 45th anniversary of Independence, so too is the Jamaican Diaspora in the South Florida preparing for that occasion.

Nearly 400,000 nationals and friends in the South Florida tri-county region will join in several activities marking the celebration.

Planned events will include a number of cultural presentations such as church services, balls, and concerts.

Patrons will celebrate at the annual Grand Independence Ball to be held on Saturday, July 28th at the Renaissance Hotel in downtown Miami. There will be a variety of entertainment celebrating the nation’s cultural heritage. The event is hosted by the Clint O’Neil Needy Kids Foundation.

Simultaneously, the Premier Independence Ball hosted by the Jamaica United Relief Association and the Members Only of South Florida will also take place on Saturday, July 28th at the Signature Grand in Davie.

On August 4 the Jamaican-American Association of Central Florida will host there Annual Jamaican Independence Banquet in Orlando.

On September 8, community organization Jamaicans of Palm Beaches will celebrate their annual ball on a Three-day cruise.

The annual ecumenical service hosted by the Jamaica Consulate General in Miami, will be held on Sunday (July 29) at 4 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church of Fort Lauderdale in downtown Fort Lauderdale.

Guest preacher will be the Suffragan Bishop of Kingston, Bishop Robert Thompson and the officiating minister will be the Reverend Winston Wright of the Grace Episcopalian Church in West Palm Beach. Recitals will be performed by the Jamaican Independence choir comprising choristers from several Jamaican congregations in the South Florida communities.

As is customary, a community reception hosted by the staff of the Consulate will immediately follow the service at which nationals and friends have been invited to participate in an evening of fellowship.

Proceeds of collection will benefit the Swift Purscell Boys’ Home in St. Mary and Experience Aviation Learning Center in Miami.

The eighth annual cultural perrformance “Culturama” returns to Florida with two performances, one on Saturday (Aug. 4) in Tampa and Sunday (Aug. 5) in Coral Springs. The showcase features a variety of Jamaican traditional folk art forms that include dance, song and drama with Festival award winning students from several schools in Jamaica. Local performers will include the folkloric group, Jamaica Folk Revue and the Tallawah Mento Band.

Culturama is hosted by the South Florida based cultural organization, Jamaica Awareness and the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC).

On Saturday (Aug. 4), Jamaican nationals will be treated to an evening of entertainment at a “Street Dance” reminiscent of the island’s celebration of Independence, to be held in downtown Fort Lauderdale.

Jamaicans in the Catholic Mission will celebrate the annual Independence Mass on Sunday (Aug. 5) at Our Lady of the Lourdes Catholic Church in Kendall, South Miami, while nationals in Palm Beach will also worship at the Grace Episcopal Church in West Palm Beach.

A partial listing of upcoming Jamaica Independence Day celebrations:

Church Services

July 22 – 4:30 p.m.: Independence service at Kendall Community Church of God,

July 29 – 4 p.m.: Jamaica Consulate General Ecumenical Service, First Presbyterian Church, Fort Lauderdale

August 5 – 2:30 pm: Jamaicans in the Catholic Mission Independence Mass Our Lady of the Lourdes Church, 11291 SW 142 Avenue, Miami

August 12 – 10am: Jamaicans of Palm Beaches Independence Service Grace Episcopal Church, 3600 No. Australian Avenue, West PB.

Community Activities

July 28

Community Health Fair at Children’s Medical Services, 5101 Greenwood Avenue, West Palm Beach, hosted by Jamaicans of Palm Beaches

August 4th

8pm: Culturama Celebration 2007, University of South Florida, Tampa Jamaica Awareness Inc.

8pm: Kendall Church of God dinner dance at Palmetto Bay Village, proceeds to benefit charities in Jamaica

8pm – 12am: Independence Street Dance (downtown Fort Lauderdale) Hosted by Caribbean Riddims

August 5th

11am – 8pm: Jamaica Independence Festival, South Florida Fairgrounds, Southern Blvd., West Palm Beach sponsored by United Sports and Social Club of West Palm Beach

10am-7:30pm: Jamaica’s 45 Independence Celebration Picnic at Markham Park, presented by: NRS International & Master Event Inc.

8 pm: Culturama Celebration 2007, Coral Springs Performing Center

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