On top of the Olympic fanfare, Jamaica today celebrates 50 years of independence from the United Kingdom.
Jamaica has a lot to be proud of, including a thriving tourism industry with more than just beautiful beaches, status as the reggae capital of the world, and being home to some of the friendliest and most celebratory people on earth.
Which is why it is no surprise that the Jamaica 50 celebrations are continuing through the end of the year, along with heightened excitement around other major annual events.
“Some of the best events are yet to come, like the Reggae Marathon, which draws music fans from around the world - and many Jamaicans living abroad want to come home to celebrate Jamaica 50 with family this fall and for Christmas,” says Vicki Cannizo, managing director for the Jamaica Association of Villas and Apartments.
“A lot of Jamaican expatriates have children who have never been to Jamaica, so this year is a great opportunity for them, or anyone, to come and enjoy the best of Jamaica.”
A few of the upcoming highlights:
- August: Two major events take place on August 11th in Kingston: The Grand Jamaica Homecoming Olympic Party coincides with the men’s and women’s Relay finals at the London 2012 Olympic Games. In Montego Bay, The International Reggae Wine Festival features wine purveyors, some of the best reggae artists, a fashion show, and Jamaican arts & crafts.
- September: The Legends of Cricket T20 Carnival Master’s Tournament (Sept 27th-29th) features the world’s greatest cricket legends and players of all time, plus a golf tournament, beach party and music.
- October: The Montego Bay Yacht Club Fishing Tournament (October 3rd-7th) is the oldest competitive fishing event in Jamaica, offering all levels, including kids’ competitions, entertainment and food.
- November: Restaurant Week (Nov 13th-20th) celebrates Jamaica’s diverse culinary offerings in Kingston, Montego Bay and Ocho Rios.
- December: The Reggae Marathon (Nov 29th- Dec 2nd) is not just for runners, but anyone who wants to enjoy a celebration of good vibes and lots of reggae music in Negril. There are dozens of other festivities, from the Grand Jamaica Homecoming and Jamaica Open Pro-Am, the JAM 50 Finale Concert and Fireworks, the Hands of Gold Boxing Series, the Pineapple Ball, and special Christmas celebrations all over the island.
For more information on the celebrations, check out the official website.