BACK WITH A BANG
NYE spectacle set to thrill J’cans ringing in 2023 in Kgn, MoBay, Ocho Rios
Following a two-year hiatus, Jamaicans are looking forward to tonight’s return of the Urban Development Corporation’s (UDC) signature New Year’s Eve fireworks extravaganza, which will unfold at three locations across the island to ring in 2023.
Fireworks on the Waterfront is back in the capital city as well as Fireworks On The Bay at the Ocho Rios Bay Beach in St Ann.
For the first time, the UDC will also host a fun fest and gospel concert at the Harmony Beach Park in Montego Bay, St James.
These locations were chosen to offer persons from different sections of the island celebrate the New Year and also to include tourists in the popular resort areas in St Ann and St James.
Thousands of Jamaicans are expected to descend on the locations to share in the spectacle, which is being staged under the theme ‘Fireworks 2022: A Diamond Jubilee’ in keeping with the national celebration for Jamaica’s 60th Independence anniversary.
Twenty-five-year-old Vaughn Patterson is elated that the restrictions under the Disaster Risk Management Act (DRMA), which prevented the events from being staged in 2020 and 2021, have been lifted and that Jamaicans can once again celebrate a new beginning together.
“Going to the [Kingston] waterfront annually on December 31 has been a tradition in my family over the years, ever since I was a child. My father would take us annually to see the fireworks, so to see it return, now that COVID is under control, is a joy for me,” Patterson told The Gleaner on Thursday.
Another young man, Rodreico Pyne, said Kingstonians have always looked forward to the annual event and that it was missed while on break.
“Fireworks on the Waterfront has always been an event poor people in Jamaica look forward to. When the pandemic hit and the event stopped, we had to be locked inside to ring in the New Year. That felt like we were being caged and not allowed to be outside and to be free to celebrate, which is a part of our country’s tradition, and a tradition of people living in the city of Kingston,” Pyne told The Gleaner.
Peace and calm
Diedre Gordon, a former Kingstonian who now lives in Trelawny, would normally join the celebrations at the waterfront if she is not at church. This year, she intends to soak in the atmosphere with her grandchildren in Montego Bay.
“Harmony Park Beach is where it’s going to be at!” she said excitedly.
“I’m looking forward to the excitement and the gospel show. St James has been in the news recently for the violence taking place here, but I hope this event will bring peace and a calm mood among persons living in St James and also our tourists who chose to ring in the New Year with us in Jamaica,” she told The Gleaner.
The UDC says all events will kick off at 2 p.m.
The St Ann and Kingston events will include a kiddie’s village, vending village, and stage show, which will culminate with fireworks at midnight.
“For the kiddie’s village, in both Ocho Rios and Kingston, we offer all-day ride passes. For Ocho Rios, it’s $1,000, and $2,500 for Kingston,” UDC Director of Corporate Communications Lorna Clarke advised, adding that persons will still be able to purchase individual rides if they so desire.
The stage show at Fireworks on the Waterfront in downtown Kingston will begin at 5 p.m. and will be 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 moves to Fireworks On The Bay at 6 p.m. for the show, with live performances by Chi Ching Ching, Ramon Johnson, Admiral Bailey and Carey Sayles. It will be hosted by MC Teddy.
The NYE at Harmony Gospel Show in Montego Bay will begin at 6 p.m. with live performances by Jermaine Edwards, O’Neil Campbell and several others. That event will be hosted by Daron Smith.
According to the UDC, the events are primarily free, public events, however, guests at the Kingston and St Ann locations have the option to view the shows from VIP areas. VIP tickets can be purchased at the UDC head office in Kingston or at the St Ann Development Company’s office in the Ocean Village Shopping Centre, Ocho Rios.