Festival season is upon us.
From live performances to Caribbean cuisine, Hartford was filled with vibrant colors and rich smells for the sixtieth annual West Indian Independence celebration.
“It comes after Jamaica's independence and Trinidad's independence. They were first two to gain independence in 1962 and then followed by the other countries,” West Indian Independence Celebrations Committee Board member Sean Antoine tells us.
Organizers say over five thousand people from across the state came out to celebrate their heritage.
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“I like seeing everyone in their colors. Jamaicans are always in their colors. It makes me feel proud, seeing everyone that is like you,” Jordaine Wisdom of Bloomfield said.
“I am from Antigua and this was a perfect way to come and celebrate my culture, my heritage, and be around good music and good food,” Rana Roberts of New Britain says.
“It means everything, because I personally know that Hartford is one of the biggest west Indian communities outside New York City,” Hartford resident Rosemond Frett noted.
Dozens of clothing and food vendors were excited to be back in business following COVID-19 interruptions. One owner had customers lining up outside of his tent.
“That means I’m doing something great, thanks to the community for supporting us, because due to COVID, it’s been slow, but things are looking up, so I just give thanks,” Charles Nelson, owner of the ‘Ah It Agwan’ Cuisine, stated.
All waiting for an island favorite.
“We have some jerk chicken on the grill, spice, all the people coming here twice. It’s a good look, Jamaica, you know,” Nelson added.
It was definitely a jam packed day with lots of fun for everyone.
Organizers tell us as soon as all the tents come down, it takes a full year to get ready for next year’s festival.