MIAMI – Patrons to this year’s Jamaican Jerk Festival, presented by Air Jamaica at Markham Park on September 23rd, will be treated to a variety of activities and entertainment from the time the festival opens at 10:00 am until the last note sounds at 10:00pm.
For starters, expectations are high as the Festival’s quite popular and much talked about Jerk Cook-off, a fierce competition between top chefs from the Caribbean, will offer over two thousand dollars cash in prize. Contestants have been diligently perfecting their menus for this highly anticipated cook-off which promises mouth-watering presentations to impress the judges. Celebrity Judges Channel 10’s Dwight Lauderdale, Food Network’s Throw Down winner Nigel Spence, and the Gleaner’s Lifestyle editor Barbara Ellington will have the difficult task of selecting a winner who will be awarded cash and the coveted Dutch Pot Trophy.
Two Cultural stages will feature local and international entertainment which includes fourteen-year-old violin prodigy, Nadje Leslie. Leslie was crowned National Instrumental Champion at last year’s Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) Festival Competition and was awarded two trophies and three gold medals for her violin solos as well as two gold medals for dancing with ESOR Dance Company. She recently wowed audiences at Culturama 2007 in Tampa and Coral Springs.
Popular storyteller, actress, motivational speaker and writer, Joan Andrea Hutchinson will be one of the featured performer on the MortgageGrants.com Cultural stage. Joining her will be the comedic duo of Ity & Fancy Cat, local writer Marva McLean, the popular Blue Glades Mento Band and dub poet Malachi Smith.
Even the sports inclined will have something to cheer for with the addition of netball featuring the Air Jamaican Championship team playing an all-star Florida team. Cricket fans will get an opportunity to see former West Indian cricket stars lead Jamaica vs. Barbados in a 20/20 competition organized by South Florida Cricket Alliance. The Domino pavilion will be the source of stiff competition as lovers of the game compete for cash and prizes.
The little ones will have their pick too! The Winn-Dixie Kidz Fun Zone will be buzzing with activity featuring rides, games, clowns and face-painting especially designed for all their playful needs.
Draw out your inner sommelier, and enjoy a dalliance with the art of jerk and wine pairing in the Purple Reign Wine Pavilion. Tantalize your taste buds with almost every variation of jerk, from jerk lobster to jerk ice cream and be sure to explore the many other attractions the Festival has to offer.
The main stage will play host to the headlining performance by legendary Jamaican band, Byron Lee and the Dragonaires. The undisputed Queen of Soca Allison Hinds will ignite waistlines and spice up the stage with her notorious eye-pleasing gyrations. Don’t miss the soothing vibes of the reggae-jazz sounds from famed guitarist Eugene Grey. Young fete goers can revel in the sounds of Waggy T and Kool G over by the Hot105 and 99Jamz Party Pavilion.
Major sponsors of the event are Maroone Toyota, MortgageGrants.com, Grace Foods, County Line Chiropractic Centers, People’s Telecom, Bahama Breeze and Impark. Media sponsors are Hot105, 99Jamz, NBC6, WAVS, WTPS, WSRF, Sun Sentinel and Caribbean National Weekly newspapers.