Travel Tips & Features

Trelawny Yam Festival 2005

Written by Adam Rhoads

As the Easter Holiday nears, so begins the island-wide buzz for Trelawny Yam Festival 2005. Scheduled for Easter Monday, March 28th, The 2005 version of Jamaica’s first and best festival looks to expand on last year’s record setting performance of nearly 18,000 visitors. Activities begin on March 16th with the Schools Competition and kick into high gear the week of March 21st with the Farmer’s Field Celebration, Yam King and Queen Pageant, Sports Day and Grand Yam Festival Day on March 28th.

Westwood High School in Stewart Town, Trelawny is the host of this year’s Schools Competition. The Schools Competition invites students from across the island to enter songs, poems and essays on the theme of “Yam and Yam Cultivation.” Winners in the age categories of 8-12, 13-15 and 16 and over will be invited to perform their winning pieces on the main stage of the Trelawny Yam Festival on March 28.

The Farmer’s Field Celebration is set for Tuesday, March 22nd and will be held in the community of Rock Spring. Area farmers who make their living producing yam on the hills of Trelawny and who were the inspiration of the original Festival will be celebrated on this day of food, drink and fun. Run-offs for the Yam Hill Digging Competition will be held and winners will be advanced to the Competition finals on Yam Festival Day. Many fun competitions will also be held to reward the farmers for continuing Trelawny’s unique yam culture.

Thursday, March 24th is the staging of the always elegant Yam King and Queen Pageant at Ulster Spring Primary School. Fourteen of the best and brightest of Trelawny’s young men and women will take the stage to earn the prestigious title of Yam Festival King and Queen. Group and individual performance pieces, modeling and responses to questions will help determine who will be awarded the titles of Most Talented Male and Female, Most Intelligent Male and Female and the King and Queen.

TYF Sports Day is set for Sunday, March 27th at Albert Town High School where a 3 on 3 Basketball Tournament, 50K Cycle Race, 10K Road Race and High School Relays will be held to determine the best athletes from across the island. Food vendors, music, radio and sponsors will be on hand and fun competitions for fans will be held to entertain the sports fans attending the event. Sports Day will ramp up the Yam Festival atmosphere well into Sunday evening as event organizers hit the streets of Albert Town to prepare for Grand Yam Festival Day on March 28th.

Easter Monday, March 28th will see the first and best festival in Jamaica pulling out all the stops in 2005 to continue the success and goodwill that has been developed over the past eight years. People of all ages will have many new and exciting attractions to enjoy. Throughout the day on the main stage cultural performances will be staged, awards for competition winners will be given out and prize giveaways will be awarded to Festival patrons. The Cockpit Country Showcase will display products made directly from the natural resources of Jamaica’s yam producing basket. The high school campus is the venue for the finals of the Champion Farmer Competitions, the Best Dressed Donkey Competition, the Vintage Vibes corner, the Yam Culinary Competitions, the Kids Play Area and a DJ Competition. A Flavor of the Caribbean is coming to this year’s Festival as we celebrate the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME) with representatives from the island of Suriname on hand to display its culture and heritage. Magnum Sound will rock the town and a Dominoes Tournament will be held for the first time in Yam Festival’s history. Vendors will be throughout the Festival Village selling a variety of yam dishes, Jerk and every traditional Jamaican dish imaginable.

Major Sponsors of this year’s event include Lascelles Wine and Spirits, the Jamaica Tourist Board, IGL Ltd., Power 106, JMMB, Tru-Juice, Group 7 Promotions, JNBS and Plass Productions. More information on this year’s Festival can be obtained by visiting the Yam Festival website at www.stea.net/tyf2005.htm or by contacting the office of the Southern Trelawny Environmental Agency at 876 -610-0818.

About the author

Adam Rhoads