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Festival Committee pleased with turnout

Festival Committee pleased with turnout

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The Chair of the Nine Mornings Festival Committee is hopeful that the Christmas vibe will pick up significantly now that Nine Mornings has been launched.

With only a week to go before Christmas, the streets of Kingstown are usually teeming with people, as they make their preparations {{more}}for the season. However, this year, things are somewhat subdued, with no more persons scurrying about than usual; in no small part due to the recently concluded general elections.

However, Michael Peters, the chair of the Nine Mornings Festival Committee, is optimistic that activity will soon increase. Speaking with SEARCHLIGHT, Peters said the first morning of the festival last Wednesday was well-attended, despite the cancellation of the official launch on November 29.

“We lit up the Square and, as usual, we had a good crowd coming out!” enthused Peters.

“People are very supportive of Nine Mornings right across the country. All of the communities are reporting good attendances. You get a good mixture of Vincentians living here, Vincentians returning from abroad and visitors. So, we had a good mix of people who came out for the first morning.”

He said that the committee was very pleased with the turnout, and is confident that Vincentians will continue to “put politics aside” and attend in their numbers until the last morning on December 24.

“Let us remember that it is our festival. Let us put our differences aside and remember that we are celebrating the reason for the season. It’s Christmas, the birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. This will help to temper some of the divisions we have in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Peters also highlighted the introduction of Nine Nights (December 13 – 23) at the Botanic Gardens, which features creative lighting of the heritage site, carolling, musical accompaniment, a live manger scene and the sale of local food and drink.

“It’s an ideal opportunity to take the whole family, walk through the gardens and be part of the light up… We will see how well it does in terms of people coming out,” he noted.

“There was a good crowd there at the opening, despite the weather… but it looks like it’s going to be a successful activity, so that is something that we will look at closely going forward.”

Peters encouraged Vincentians to continue to attend Nine Mornings, promising the usual variety of entertaining and traditional activities.

“The great thing about Nine Mornings is that it is all over the country. It’s in North Leeward, South Leeward, Central Leeward, Marriaqua Valley, all the way up to North Windward. We have Nine Mornings activities in Bequia, Canouan and Union Island.

“You have an opportunity to take in these festivities right around the island within driving or walking distance of wherever you are. The opportunity would be to pick a different community every morning and sample what they have!”

Peters also pointed out that Nine Mornings is not only culturally important to SVG, but also economically and socially.

“It drives our tourism product; it’s the activity that brings in the most visitors… It’s still unique to St Vincent and the Grenadines in a world where people copy ideas and activities that are working. We must work hard to preserve it!”

In comparison with Vincy Mas, Peters noted that Nine Mornings is not promoted on that scale regionally and internationally, because Carnival has a bigger budget.

“Nine Mornings’ promotional budget is really zero but… Nine Mornings at the moment is promoting itself, because a lot of Vincentians return and they bring their visitors and friends… There’s a lot of word of mouth advertising, but still it can do with a whole lot more promotion.”

Despite this, he acknowledged that the festival has received regional and international coverage in the media simply because of its uniqueness.

“It does generate a lot of interest on its own, even without a major injection of promotional funds.” (JSV)

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