Soufriere Foun­da­tion ush­ers in the Christ­mas sea­son with Avant Noel cel­e­bra­tions

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL -

On Satur­day 13 De­cem­ber, 2014 Soufrieri­ans marked the start of the Christ­mas sea­son with a yule­tide cer­e­mony called Avant Noel. This in­au­gu­ral event was hosted by the Soufriere Foun­da­tion with spon­sor­ship from sev­eral lo­cal business houses, most no­tably Whis­pers, Soufriere Ser­vice Sta­tion, Soufriere Con­stituency Coun­cil and Cool Breeze Jeep and Car Rental.

Avant Noel was de­signed to bring good cheer and the Christ­mas spirit to the com­mu­nity. This was achieved through carol sign­ing, lan­tern parad­ing and switch­ing on of the Christ­mas lights which ring the Soufriere Square and the nearby streets. While the switch­ing on of the lights is noth­ing new, in the past it has been an in­dis­tin­guish­able event. This year, by mar­ry­ing the three ac­tiv­i­ties the or­ga­ni­za­tion was able to put to­gether a fit­ting fam­ily event to her­ald the Christ­mas sea­son.

Though in its first year, hun­dreds of ap­pre­cia­tive res­i­dents turned out to watch the event. After the cus­tom­ary wel­come re­marks, seven young chil­dren from the Soufriere Com­mu­nity After School Pro­gramme pa­raded their lanterns and then the lights were switched on. This was fol­lowed by carol singing by Our Saviour, Soufriere Com­bined School, Fond St. Jac­ques Catholic and the Soufriere Se­nior Men and Women’s Catholic Choir. It was the first time since 1997 that res­i­dents were be­ing ex­posed to a lan­tern pa­rade, the last be­ing the an­nual Na­tional Fes­ti­val of Lights cel­e­bra­tion which was hosted by the town in 1997.

Avant Noel was cov­ered live on the com­mu­nity ra­dio sta­tion, 88.5 Soufriere FM. “We felt that Avant Noel had to in­clude ev­ery­one re­gard­less of lo­ca­tion and so we were quite pleased to bring the event to the homes of our lis­ten­ers who couldn’t be there,” said Lester Caza­ubon, 88.5’s Co­or­di­na­tor. Avant Noel co­in­cided with the start of the 12 Days of Christ­mas pro­mo­tion on 88.5 Soufriere FM. Dur­ing this in­ter­ac­tive 12-day pro­gramme, res­i­dents par­take in on-air ex­er­cises and win prizes. This year’s prizes in­clude a trip to Mar­tinique, tablets, a 32” Sam­sung LED HDTV, food ham­pers, day passes at var­i­ous ho­tels, etcetera.

In or­der to keep the fes­tive spirit alive in the com­mu­nity, the Soufriere Foun­da­tion will host two other events: a tra­di­tional party for un­der­priv­i­leged chil­dren and a fire­works dis­play on New Year’s Eve.

The Soufriere Pri­mary School Choir en­ter­tained the

au­di­ence.

Dressed in nati­nal wear, this choir from Soufriere

belted out the yule­tide favourites.

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