[LAUDERDALE LAKES] – One of countless events curtailed by COVID-19 in the past two years, Unifest returns live on July 24 at Vincent Torres Park in Lauderdale Lakes.
It is the 28th staging of the day-long show, a mainstay of the Caribbean community in South Florida. Jamaican Hazelle Rogers, mayor of Lauderdale Lakes, is expecting a bumper turnout.
“People are looking forward to getting out now more than ever after COVID so we’re trying to give them another activity to engage in,” she said.
The deadly pandemic forced organizers to stage the 2020 and 2021 editions of Unifest virtually. This year sees Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados being specially honored.
Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago celebrate 60 years of independence in August while Barbados — which became a Republic last year — celebrates its 56th year as a sovereign nation in November.
Rogers says it was a sense of Caribbean unity that inspired Unifest. She was part of the team that initiated the event in the recreation room at the headquarters for the City of Lauderdale Lakes.
“Unifest for the first three or four years was all about the Caribbean communities. The non-profits were able to come out and raise funds to support themselves and their activities,” she said.
Rogers is part of a five-member committee. A committee that includes colleagues from Trinidad and Tobago, St. Kitts/Nevis and Haiti, who oversees Unifest.
Activities and Live Performances
In addition to cultural activities synonymous with the Caribbean, such as netball and domino tournament, there will be live performances from Jamaican reggae artists Kenyatta Hill of Culture, Duane Stephenson, Wayne Armond of Chalice, Annette Brissett and soca star Iwer George of Trinidad and Tobago.
There will also be an appearance by the Marching Band of Portmore from Jamaica. They are a part of Lauderdale Lakes’ cultural exchange program. In 2014, the Marching Band of Boyd Anderson High School in Lauderdale Lakes visited Jamaica.