Nine Mornings Festival abuzz with ‘Christmas Is We’
The streets of Kingstown were buzzing with excitement on Sunday evening as people from all across the country gathered in the capital for the launch of Nine Mornings.
The launch consisted of three parts: a street parade, an official ceremony and a concert.
Lennox Bowman, the deputy chairman of the National Nine Mornings Committee said that the committee works all year round to ensure that the festival is done in a special way.
“This march this evening as we were going around, you felt a lot of love and a lot of goodness and a spirit that is only exemplary of the hardworking and the loving Vincentian community,” he said.
“I want to say…it is the communities that make this thing. We are merely the facilitators but the hardworking communities doing all the work to ensure that some of the best concerts are staged during the Nine Mornings season throughout St Vincent and the Grenadines so I want to encourage you to go and visit these communities.”
The tourism minister, Cecil McKie expressed excitement in the businesses and households that have already started lighting up for the season as they play a role in spreading Christmas cheer.
McKie also said that December was an important month, particularly because more visitors are expected to come into the island to spend Christmas and be a part of the festivities.
He said that arrivals have increased in the month of December in the last two years, moving from 41,000 visitors in December 2016 to 79,000 in December 2017.
McKie expects this number to rise, as he said that in 2017, the country recorded a total of 227,000 visitors for the year. And he added that this number has been surpassed within the first eight months of this year, as 248,000 have already visited St Vincent and the Grenadines.
“What this is saying is that the month of December is now an important month for St Vincent and the Grenadines to shine and therefore, each and everyone of us, we must play our part,” McKie said.
“The Nine Mornings committee, this year, we were not satisfied that St Vincent and the Grenadines was identified as one of the best places to be on earth in December. We are not satisfied that our Nine Mornings festival has been declared as one of the best Nine Mornings festivals in the world.”
The tourism minister said that this was among the reasons that the National Nine Mornings Committee has launched a commemorative magazine and other memorabilia.
The National Lotteries Authority (NLA) and St Vincent Electricity Services (VINLEC) are the sponsors of the Nine Mornings festival.
Anthony Dennie, NLA’s product development officer said at Sunday’s launch that the company was pleased to be apart of the festivities.
And he said that Nine Mornings has the potential to become a “grand festival”.
“…with the lighting up and our unique way of nobody in the world wakes up at three and four o’clock in the morning to say they going paranging or Nine Mornings or that kind of stuff; it’s something that is unique to us in St Vincent and the Grenadines and certainly, we at the NLA are pleased to be a part of it,” Dennie said.
Heritage Square was officially lit on Sunday with an array of Christmas lights, depicting various images. The theme, “Christmas is We” is also among the bright light display.
Community choirs also participated in a competition on Sunday and several artistes including Cleopatra, The Bowmans, Ronnie Richardson and Carlton “CP” Hall also made appearances at the launch.