Jamaica fans set to take over Finsbury Park for the Olympics
�A Caribbean carnival will take over Finsbury Park for nine days next year when the site becomes a Jamaican fanzone for the London 2012 Olympics.
Up to 50,000 people a day are expected to flood into the park to eat, dance, watch the games on the big screen and even get the chance to meet Jamaica’s top athletes, such as world 100m and 200m record-holder Usain Bolt.
The event, which will be called Jamaica Village and is scheduled to run for nine days from August 3 to 12, will be a celebration of all the exotic island has to offer.
Haringey Council, which has responsibility for the park, says it has not received a licensing application as yet, but the festival is almost certain to go ahead.
Ziggi Golding, director of Festival Jamaica 2012, one of the event’s partners, said: “In Beijing 2008, despite how well the athletes did, Jamaica didn’t really have a presence at the games and so didn’t have a profile.
“There will be a lot of great entertainment, encompassing music, food, drink, theatre and the arts. We want to represent all elements of Jamaican culture.
“The Jamaican athletes such as Usain Bolt will be attending, and a lot of the dignitaries like Lennox Lewis that will be in town will be there. We are expecting 50,000 people a day – it’s going to be big.”
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Alexandra Palace has already been chosen as the Dutch fan base and Somerset House will be shaking to the sound of samba rhythms when the Brazilian supporters come to town.
Michael Fitzsimons, manager of the Faltering Fullback pub, in nearby Perth Road, said: “I think its great.
“All the extra people will be good for custom and good for the area.”
Hugh Hayes, former chairman of the Friends of Finsbury Park, said: “As long as festivals aren’t too numerous and help the community, there is no problem.
“There are a huge numbers of Afro-Carribbean people in the area, and if they could be involved then it will be a good thing.”