This weekend sees 55 years since Jamaica became an independent country and with the second biggest Jamaican community in the UK, Birmingham was bound to celebrate Jamaican Independence Day in style.
Taking place over the weekend, starting on Friday Victoria Square plays host to live music, Jamaican food stalls, Rum shacks, DJs spinning the decks, craft stalls and a wonderful carnival atmosphere.
Obviously we visited and a fab time was had by all.
We started by doing a slow circuit of Victoria Square, we needed to assess the situation. It’s just so depresssing when we rush our food and drink choices only to find something better around the next corner. Our savoury food choices seemed to be mostly jerk chicken or pork, salt fish and ackee, curried goat and Jamaican patties.
Now I do love Caribbean food, it’s always deliciously spicy but never packing too much heat so I plumped for the lovey curried goat, served with rice and peas. It was lovely, with tender mutton that fell off the bone and jam packed full of flavour. Granddaughters Jessica and Alexis agreed with my choice and had themselves a portion each, although it was a bit too big for Alexis to finish.
Theo had the jerk pork wrap and it was delightfully smokey, again a big portion but it must have been really good because Theo ate it all. Mr. Red had the saltfish and ackee, I had been curious to try this Caribbean classic for a while so I had to try it. It’s probably better after you’ve had it a few times , it was just a little to salty for my palette and dare I say a bit fishy. Mr. Red found it funny that I wasn’t keen on the saltfish and ackee because it was salty and fishy!
Mr. Red and I had a delightful rum punch each. It was like a party in a glass, well a plastic tumbler and rather strong. A half pint of rum punch containing three different rums was incredibly reasonable at £4.00 and you could have a pint for £7.00
We bought a slushy for the children, they chose their plastic drinks holder, each child chose the palm tree tumbler. After paying £3.50 for their tumblers they got to choose their own slushy flavours and served themselves. Jessica loved the cherry slushy and only had 3 flavours in her tumbler. The twins wanted a bit of every flavour in their palm tree tumblers.
It had been fairly quiet when we first arrived about 1pm but the crowds soon filled Victoria Square once the sun came out. Sadly the rain started again just before the live music started and so we decided to leave at 2.30 but we all had a lovely time. We had wanted to stay to see Jamaican runner Hussain Bolt run his final 100m race live on the big screens. Tomorrow (Sunday 6th) we will revisit as there is a live, open air concert that I really want to see.
There was so many people dressed in lovely outfits but I really think the young lady at the top of this article truly captures the spirit of the day.
I shall update this blog tomorrow to include more words and pictures about Sunday.