Destination Jamaica offers a robust calendar of events in 2017 to appeal to visitors of all ages from all over the world. The new year got underway with the adrenaline pumping at the annual carnival celebrations kick off in Kingston and is set to culminate in Negril with great vibes at the Reggae Marathon in December. In between, a fascinating range of cultural and engaging activities based on themes of music, health/wellness, fashion and food will add its own flavor and spice.
Below is a sampling of some of the events:
Carnival Season in Jamaica
Islandwide. January 2-April 23
The annual Carnival season which kicks off in January and culminates in Easter places the spotlight on the capital city Kingston and the resort town of Ocho Rios with special shows featuring local Jamaican and international soca artists. As one of the biggest cultural celebration of Jamaica, the period features a number of high-energy, fun filled events, from beach parties to breakfast fetes, weekly mas camps to jouvert and finally colourful street parades of costumed revellers and pulsating music. The series kicked off on January 2 and culminates with the usual Road March on the April 23. Some of the highlights of the season include: Beach Jouvert (April 15th), Reveller’s Fete (April 19th) and Bacchanal Jouvert & Road March (April 21st).
Reggae Month Celebrations,
Kingston. February 2017
Since its inception in 2009 by the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association (JaRIA), Reggae Month is a celebration of Jamaica’s reggae music for the entire month of February. Visitors can enjoy experiences such as Kingston Dub Club, Weddy Weddy, lecture series and a host of other events in the cultural capital, Kingston.
Kingston City Run
Kingston. March 10-12
Now in its 5th year, Kingston City Run, is one of the most popular races on the local scene. It allows runners to experience varying aspects of Kingston while running through major attractions such as Devon House, King’s House and the Bob Marley Museum. Registration is now underway for the event which includes a 5K, 10K and a half marathon. It is an annual event with a mission to raise awareness and money to support sustainable programs for the homeless population in the City.
Westmoreland Curry Festival
Savanna-La-Mar. April 24
Thousands honor Jamaica’s Indian legacy at the Westmoreland Curry Festival featuring the best and most unique curry dishes and celebrity cook-offs. Chefs from across the island will showcase their exclusive curry cuisine. Live musical entertainment including roots reggae, lover’s rock, and gospel promises to delight everyone.
Jakes Off-Road Triathlon
St Elizabeth. April 29
The 22nd staging of the Jakes Off-Road Triathlon takes place in Treasure Beach, St Elizabeth. The event comprises a 300m swim, a 25K bike ride and a 7K run. Funds raised will benefit BREDS, The Treasure Beach Foundation
Style Week Jamaica/Fashionblock
Kingston. May 25-29
The 5-day affair has become a major event on the Jamaican entertainment/fashion calendar. The fashion extravaganza features a bevy of supermodels and includes multiple after parties, VIP cocktail receptions, seminars, and glamorous runway shows that appeal to die-hearted fashionistas from around the world.
Caribbean Fashion Week
Kingston. June 7-11
Jamaica will come alive this June as the city is completely immersed in fashion. Not only will the work of the region’s best designers be on show, but everything from the food we eat, the holistic care of the mind and body, what we wear, how we live and how we rock our style, will be reflected in this year’s CFW, themed ‘The Best of Fashion’.
Kingston on the Edge Urban Art Festival
Kingston. June 19-28
The annual nine-day performing arts event celebrates its 10th anniversary this year with multiple activities throughout the capital city, Kingston. Aimed to develop and harness the incredible artistic potential of Jamaica while showcasing Kingston as the cultural and entertainment capital of the Caribbean.
Portland Jerk Festival
Portland. July 3
The Portland Jerk Festival is one of the biggest celebrations of jerk cuisine, hosted in Portland, the “home of jerk.” Held at the heritage site at Folly Estate, it is the perfect opportunity for visitors to participate in a delectable feast of jerk lobster, fish, chicken and pork, as well as enjoy performances by local artists and dancers, art exhibits, carnival rides and face painting.
Montego Bay. July 16-23
Reggae Sumfest is Jamaica’s premier festival dedicated to showcasing the island’s indigenous reggae music, while promoting the island as a prime summer destination. The event, with its new tagline of Our Music Our Festival, attracts visitors as well as media from all over the world. The 2017 festival will mark the 25th annual staging of this event.
Negril. July 28-August 1
Dream Weekend in Negril Jamaica, is a music festival that attracts thousands of local and overseas visitors to Negril for a series of ten (10) events which are packaged with hospitality, entertainment and transportation. The weekend features non-stop parties, where the spirit of Jamaica “rum” rules in paradise.
Ocho Rios Seafood Festival
Ocho Rios. August 1
The Ocho Rios Seafood festival, now in its 10th year, will be held on Emancipation Day as part of the Independence celebrations. The festival will feature cooking demonstrations, a cook-off competition, seafood offerings, kiddies village, cultural presentations throughout the day and will end with a stage show in the night. Previous artists have included Shaggy, Chronnix, Tessane Chin and Tarrus Riley.
Port Antonio International Marlin Tournament
Port Antonio. October 1-8
This is the 51st staging of this annual event which will once again feature the Port Antonio Canoe Tournament. Last year over 40 boats registered with a total of 186 anglers, 20 of which were international participants. Fun, social events and competitive angling summarizes this weeklong sport-fishing event in Port Antonio, Portland in northeastern Jamaica.
Jamaica Food and Drink Festival
Kingston. October 25-29
Exotic Flavours, Exhilarating Spirits and Unforgettable Experiences – this is what is promised by the organizers of this 4 day foodie event. The Jamaica Food & Drink Festival is modeled after the International food festivals such as the South Beach Wine & Food Festival and the Aspen Food & Wine Festival. It will be five days of gastronomic indulgence.
Reggae Marathon 2017
Negril. December 2
Now in its 17th year, the Marathon, Half-Marathon and 10K together form Jamaica’s premier international marathon event. Over 1,500 marathon runners, sports enthusiasts and even novice runners gather in Negril, where live reggae bands provide pulsating motivation along the entire course. The IAAF certified race also carries great international appeal, offering visitors an unforgettable experience.
For more information on these events as well as additional events in Jamaica, or to book your trip, go to www.visitjamaica.com or call 1-800-JAMAICA (1-800-526-2422).