Donkey Race takes tourists for the ride of their lives

August 03, 2018
Ian Allen/Photographer Persons flock to the annual Emancipation Day Donkey racing in Top Hill St. Catherine.
Ian Allen/Photographer Returning resident, Marlon Brown (pink shirt dress) takes her niece, Amber Del-Moral and daughter, Anaya Brown Thompson to the Emancipation Day Donkey Racing in Top Hill, St. Catherine for a third time.
Ian Allen/Photographer For the first time, (from left) Mary Williams, Deloris Williams of Point Hill and Kim Gregory from East London experience the Emancipation Day Donkey Racing in Top Hill, St. Catherine.
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"Finding parking was an issue; the walk down the hill will make anyone second-think attending, but it is all part of the experience and Jamaica's cultural landscape," said a New Yorker who made the Top Hill Donkey Race on Emancipation Day the first stop of his vacation.

Hundreds of persons on Wednesday endured the heat to watch the fittest of the donkeys compete for the title of champion.

One visitor out of East London, Kim Gregory, who was caught almost melting in the summer sun, told THE WEEKEND STAR that she heard about the donkey races through a friend, who had attended in the past.

"I had to experience it for myself, no matter the weather," said Gregory.

She, along with Mary Williams, also from London, who never saw a donkey race although her father is from Top Hill, did not miss an opportunity to record each race and take photos with the jockeys on their mobile phones.

The donkey races that act as entertainment, throughout the Emancipendence week are not only revered for the excitement but for the bigger picture - a community-building project and, more recent as a tourist attraction.

According to veteran Member of Parliament Robert Pickersgill, the reason for his attending the road-side event is because it is "by the community, for the community.

"It is now a calendar event that the citizens of this area look forward to it, especially because it is a mixed package for all age groups," said Pickersgill.

"It has the potential to be a bigger project for the people of Top Hill and neighbouring districts; the attention it has received for the 24 years it has been staged has more than tripled," he continued.

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