BACK WITH A BANG | Lead Stories
Tonight, after a two-year hiatus, Jamaicans look forward to the return of the Urban Development Corporation (UDC) New Year’s Eve fireworks extravaganza, which will take place at three locations across the island to ring in 2023.
Fireworks on the Waterfront is back in the capital, as is Fireworks on the Bay at Ocho Rios Bay Beach in St. Ann.
For the first time, UDC is also hosting a fun festival and gospel concert at Harmony Beach Park in Montego Bay, St. James.
These locations were chosen to offer people from different parts of the island the opportunity to celebrate the New Year and also to draw tourists into the popular holiday areas of St Ann and St James.
Thousands of Jamaicans are expected to flock to the sites to take in the spectacle, which will be themed “Fireworks 2022: A Diamond Jubilee” in line with national celebrations of Jamaica’s 60th anniversary of independence.
Vaughn Patterson, 25, is delighted that the Disaster Risk Management Act (DRMA) restrictions that prevented the events from happening in 2020 and 2021 have been lifted and Jamaicans can once again celebrate a fresh start together.
“Go to [Kingston] Waterfront annually on December 31st has been a tradition in my family since childhood. My dad took us to see the fireworks every year so it’s a pleasure for me to see it return now that COVID is under control,” Patterson said The Gleaner on Thursday.
Another young man, Rodreico Pyne, said the Kingstonians always looked forward to the annual event and missed it at the break.
“The fireworks display on the waterfront has always been an event that poor people in Jamaica look forward to. When the pandemic hit and the event ended, we had to be locked down to ring in the new year. It felt like we were locked in and not allowed to be outside and party freely, which is part of our country’s tradition and a tradition of the people who live in the city of Kingston,” Pyne said The Gleaner.
peace and quiet
Diedre Gordon, a former Kingstonian now based in Trelawny, would normally attend the waterside celebrations when not at church. This year she wants to soak up the atmosphere in Montego Bay with her grandchildren.
“Harmony Park Beach is where it will be!” she said excitedly.
“I’m looking forward to the excitement and the gospel show. St James has been in the news recently because of the violence that is taking place here, but I hope this event will bring peace and calm to the people who live in St James and also to our tourists who have chosen to ring in the new year with us in Jamaica. ” She said The Gleaner.
The UDC says all events will start at 2 p.m
Events in St. Ann and Kingston include a children’s village, a sales village and a stage show culminating with a midnight fireworks display.
“We offer all-day tickets for the children’s village in Ocho Rios and Kingston. It’s $1,000 for Ocho Rios and $2,500 for Kingston,” said Lorna Clarke, UDC’s director of corporate communications, adding that people can still purchase individual rides if they choose.
The stage show at Fireworks on the Waterfront in downtown Kingston starts at 5pm and is hosted by Johnny Daley, Richie B and Nadine Blair. There will be live performances from Busy Signal, Kevin Downswell, Tony Rebel, Etana, Yaksta, Sista Patt, Lubert Levy and Levy’s Heritage.
In St. Ann, the afternoon events will take place at Turtle River Park before the excitement shifts to Fireworks On The Bay at 6pm for the show, featuring live performances by Chi Ching Ching, Ramon Johnson, Admiral Bailey and Carey Sayles. It is hosted by MC Teddy.
The NYE at Harmony Gospel Show in Montego Bay begins at 6:00 p.m. with live performances from Jermaine Edwards, O’Neil Campbell and several others. This event will be moderated by Daron Smith.
According to UDC, the events are primarily free, public events, however guests at the Kingston and St. Ann locations will have the opportunity to view the shows from VIP areas. VIP tickets can be purchased at UDC Headquarters in Kingston or at the St. Ann Development Company office at Ocean Village Shopping Center, Ocho Rios.