Eager vintage reggae lovers were in Jamaica from all over the world attending the Merritone Reunion that shook the halls of Hedonism III from October 18 to 20.
The Runaway Bay location was perfect for this gathering where mostly 'older souls' reminisced and took part in the well organized events for the weekend. So many nations were on hand to embrace and enjoy the music of Jamaica, that there was a feeling of pride amongst Jamaicans at Hedonism III on Heroes Weekend. Not only were total strangers to the island and culture having a great time, but a large turnout of Jamaicans who reside in far off shores were also there having a blast.
Winston "Merritone" Blake, the sound system legend also produced the Merritone Amateur Talent contest back in the day, where acts like Beres Hammond, The Mighty Diamonds, Cynthia Schloss, Sugar Minott and even Jacob 'Killer' Miller got their break in the reggae industry,
The three night long Merritone party was hosted by Hedonism III who pulled out all stops to maintain the resort's reputation of being a place where freedom of expression in paradise is a deep rooted and highly modeled theme.
Each night a different event kept participants lively and patrons from all over Jamaica filled the venues. From the first night when Winsome Charlton of Florida made a presentation to the fabulous pool party and the Loran-V designed swimsuit fashion show on day two, the reunion had everything planned for everyone's enjoyment. Modeling some stunning outfits, sports celebs and other highly respected folk graced the stage. They included Olympian, Aileen Bailey and Michelle Laporte who is Hedonism's webmistress.
One of the favorite attractions of the three day reunion was the goat racing contests that were as wild as ever. The fascinating races were a hit with participants, some of whom told Yardflex they had never before witnessed such a sport.
If only to gently soften stiff edges, the activity of 'shot lessons' was a crowd favorite. Lascelles Wine and Spirits sponsored workshops on 'how to do shots' using a bar that consisted of Sky Vodka with vanilla and berries; Magnum; Hypnotiq and Gallo Wines to name a few spirits.
A jerk fest sizzled as the well seasoned chicken, pork and calalloo stuffed fish along with roast yam cooked on the grill while patrons quenched their thirsts with beverages like fresh coconut water.
Cooking classes with in house chef, Courtney Cole got participants creative juices flowing as they championed the art of making chocolate coated pineapples with red wine.
Of course the nostalgic and super sound of Merritone was the musical backdrop for the entire weekend of revelry.
Stalls that dotted the site included Irie Isles Exotic Fruit Mixers who had a display of assorted jerk sauces and crackers that are available at Shoppers Fair, Mega Mart and a few gift shops.
Saying goodbye was not easy on day three when the party wrapped up with a closing breakfast in the morning.
It was a blast of a trip down memory lane with Merritone at the lush and comfortable location - Hedonism III in Runaway Bay. Many agreed that it was a chance to celebrate in an atmosphere that was also serene and calming.