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Wednesday, 27 July 2016 07:16

Emancipendence Family and Food Fest set to rock 17th century Colbeck Castle

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Patrons converge at Colbeck Castle during last year's event Patrons converge at Colbeck Castle during last year's event

Colbeck Castle Heritage Park and Gardens will come alive with an exciting array of fun activities in a family fun day, as the Emancipendence Family and Food Fest is expect to rock the historic site on Emancipation Day on August 1.

The Emancipendence Family and Food Fest will feature the best of Jamaica’s cultural heritage, including traditional cuisines, live performances, kiddies village, prizes and surprises. The venue, Colbeck Castle is estimated to have been built in 1680, is a massive and impressive stone and brick ruin with walls standing to their full original height, two miles north of Old Harbour. Hosted by the Old Harbour Development Area Committee (OHDAC), the second staging of the annual event is anticipated to double its patronage, up from some 1000 patrons who participated in last year’s activities.

Desmond Whitley, Chairman, ODHAC said over the past five years, the organisation has worked closely with the Jamaica National Heritage Trust (JNHT) to preserve the site and the support has been positive from key stakeholders. The Emancipendence Family and Food Fest aims to bring people closer to the site for a unique experience, instill a sense of pride in residents and to garner support from across the country to attract funding to develop the project.

“We are proud to have the second consecutive event which will welcome families near and far to a day of fun and relaxation,” Whitley said. “This event is important to the community as it brings into sharper focus the significance of the 17th century Castle and its new role in becoming Old Harbour's first publicly accessible fun green space.”

Whitley added: “This is critical when viewed in the context of the PIOJ (Planning Institute of Jamaica) Population Report (2007) which cited Old Harbour as the fastest growing urban centre in Jamaica, but also noted that it is at risk of urban blight due to the absence of communal spaces in the area.”

The Emancipendence Family and Food Fest forms part of a multipronged approach aimed at developing the heritage site into Old Harbour's premier ‘edutainment’ hub. The concept is centered on the preservation, utilization and development of the facility similar to the Devon House model in Kingston City.

Cultural items on display at last year's festival

Colbeck Castle Heritage Park and Gardens is poised to become a vital link in St. Catherine parish Heritage tourism ventures, as the OHDAC executives continue to instill cultural pride in the residents of approximately 60 districts of Old Harbour District Associarion who flock the annual event.

Randy Finnikin, project officer, ODHAC said: “Old Harbour has been abuzz with anticipation for the Emancipendence event. It will be a day to reflect and to celebrate, so we are inviting the entire family to come and have a great time, while contributing to the development and preservation of our most prominent historic green space.”

The proceeds from the Emancipendence Family and Food Fest will go towards purchasing park furnishings such as gazebos and benches, fencing the property as well as beautification of the surroundings.

“We want to ensure that we preserve the park and ensure that it develops to benefit the community and visitors,” Finnikin noted.

The event will run from 9:00 am - 6:30 pm; tickets cost $200 pre-sold and $300 at the gate. Contributors to date include Netcom Computers, Spring Village Development Foundation and Kaluga Group of Companies.

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