Jamaicans in Atlanta are treated to a week-long series of activities during the first week of August each year that commemorate emancipation day and the island’s independence from Britain. These events include a festival dance, a cultural evening, a thanksgiving service, a health fair, an independence ball and a Jamaica Fun day in the park—see pictures at www.ujoia2006.blogspot.com. The Independence ball is coordinated by the Atlanta Jamaican Association (AJA). All other activities are coordinated by a committee comprised of representatives of various Jamaican organizations known as UJOIA, the Union of Jamaican Organizations in Atlanta and spearheaded by the island’s honorary consul to Atlanta, Vin Martin.
The rest of the year there are numerous Jamaican events organized to raise funds for various worthwhile projects on the island. One of the most successful is the Integrity Children’s Fund (www.integritychildren.org) which raises funds to educate needy children on the island. Their main events are walk-a-thons, concerts and wine and cheese parties.
In April of 2006, a new event production company known as A Fashion Affair www.afashionaffair.com , put on a spectacular and memorable fashion and cabaret show featuring top Jamaican models including, Miss Jamaica World 2005, Terri Karelle Griffith, in designs by Uzuri International, the Mutamba Collection, Bill Edwards Menswear and Polka Dots swimwear. Its director, Norma Jean Martin assured the public that it will be an annual event.
The Atlanta Chapter of the KCOBA–Kingston College Old Boys’ Association (www.kcobaatl.org) — raises funds for the school with an annual banquet and an annual scholarship fund dance. These events have included such notables as Barbara Gloudon, Bishop E. Don Taylor and Stephen Vasciannie as guest speakers and Jamaican entertainment in the form of the Fab Five Band and Lovindeer.
Each year, the Atlanta-Montego Bay Sister Cities Health & Human Services Committee plans and implements a medical mission to Montego Bay where a team of doctors, dentists, nurses and others deliver free medical care and medicine to the needy. To help fund this mission, an annual Health Mission Ball is held in Atlanta during September.
The ladies at the St. Hugh’s High School Alumnae Association provide an evening of Wine and Jazz during the fall months each year. In addition to tasty hors d’oeuvres and relaxing music, one can enjoy the delightful singing of cabaret star, Karen Smith, herself a St. Hugh’s alum.
Each Father’s day is the Kingston Technical High School Alumni’s Father’s Day Brunch a very successful event that receives widespread support from the community.
Below is a partial list of Jamaican/Caribbean events that happen annually in and around Atlanta:
- February is Reggae Superfest
- April is Caribbean Culture Festival
- May is Caribbean Carnival (www.peachcarnival.com)
- June is Reggae Sunsplash and Kingfest International
- July is Festival of Cultures and One Love Rastafari Gathering
- August is the Annual Grand Independence Ball