Events to enliven winter visits to Jamaica

NEW YORK -- Proving it's not just sun and sand, Jamaica will be an oasis of cultural festivals and events this winter and spring, as the annual Bob Marley Week, National Exhibition and Jamaica Carnival celebrations kick off.

In early February, a week celebrating the legacy of Kingston-born reggae music phenomenon Bob Marley takes over his hometown.

Described by the Jamaica Tourist Board as "reinforcing the link between Bob Marley, reggae, Rastafarian culture and Jamaica," activities include a church service at Marley's birthplace; a songwriters' workshop; four one-day symposia for young musicians; and a Bob Marley Lecture Series.

Visitors also can learn more at the Bob Marley Museum in Kingston. Open Mondays through Saturdays, the museum offers one-hour tours from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., as well as a biographical film presentation.

For more information, contact the Bob Marley Foundation at (876) 927-9152, e-mail [email protected].com or visit www.bobmarley-foundation.com/museum.html.

Meanwhile, vacationing art aficionados should catch the National Exhibition 2003 at the National Gallery of Jamaica in Kingston through February.

Featuring Jamaican artists at home and abroad, the show highlights painting, photography, sculpture, ceramics and other works on paper.

Contact the National Gallery at (876) 922 1561 or e-mail [email protected].

Though not native to Jamaica, Carnival celebrations common in the Caribbean have been adopted recently by Jamaicans.

This year, flamboyantly costumed troops of dancers and musicians will parade through the streets of Ocho Rios, Kingston and Montego Bay for Jamaica Carnival 2003 from late March into early April.

Top performers from Jamaica and other islands will entertain at soca parties, reggae fests and calypso blowouts.

For more information, call the Jamaica Tourist Board at (800) 233-4JTB or visit www.jamaicatravel.com on the Web.

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