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PAN outgrows Half-Way Tree venue

Published:Monday | July 9, 2018 | 12:00 AMShereita Grizzle/Gleaner Writer
Minister of State in the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sports Alando Terrelonge with Alicia Bogues, regional development manager at CB Foods, at the launch of PAN 2018.

The writing was perhaps on the wall, as the Half-Way Tree Transport Centre pulled a bumper-to-bumper crowd for the last two stagings of the Pan Chicken finals. Based on the overwhelming support the competition has received over the years, and with a record crowd expected this year, there will be a change of venue for the finals of Pan 2018.

According to Alicia Bogues, CB Foods regional development manager, the Half-Way Tree Transport Centre, though a good venue, quickly became too small to house the hundreds of supporters. This year, the Pan finals, slated for October 28, will find a new home at the National Stadium car park.

"Truth is, we have outgrown that venue. The logistics of taking over the roads and re-routing buses and all of that in preparation for the day was somewhat of a logistical nightmare," she said. "It's a bigger venue and we will have better means of controlling the crowd there. We want people to come out and access the venue freely and safely, without too much hassle, and the stadium car park offers that."

Speaking of the event's growth over the past few years, Bogues says she expects the crowd to be even bigger this year for the event that caters to the entire family. "We pride ourselves on being an event for the entire family, and we've become a staple on the national calendar of events. Every year, we get bigger and better, and this year will be no different," she said. "All of our partners are back on board, along with some new ones, and everyone is just trying to offer more this year as we continue to grow the event."

The entertainment package for Pan 2018 has not yet been finalised, but Bogues says the musical offering will be just as delightful as the food.

"This year, we have a street vibe kind of theme going for the series, and so we want the entertainment to be in keeping with that. We also want to throw in a little gospel because we want there to be something for everyone," Bogues said.

"While we have not come down to the nitty-gritty just yet, we know what we want, and are looking forward to getting the artistes on board that are in keeping with our vision. We have been in negotiations with a few dancehall and reggae acts but, unfortunately, there aren't a lot that are current that are suitable for our event (sadly), but we have a few in mind."