SUNRISE – The fifth staging of South Florida’s popular Jamaican Jerk Festival is scheduled for Sunday, September 24 from noon to 9 p.m. at Markham Park, in the city of Sunrise.
The Jamaican Jerk Festival, presented by Air Jamaica, has become one of South Florida’s premier Caribbean family events. It has a broad general market appeal as the popularity of ‘Jerk’ crosses all ethnic boundaries in Florida’s dynamic, multi-ethnic population.
The Festival is a celebration of authentic Jamaican Jerk in its various forms, and includes Jerk Cook-Off Competitions, Cultural Displays, Live Entertainment, Domino Competitions and a Children’s Fun Zone.
The flavour of the Jamaican Jerk Festival is a mix of old-time fair, garden party and contemporary concert. There are a large number of vendors selling a variety of Jerk foods in their many forms; everyone has their own secret ingredients. Pork and chicken are the chief Jerk offering, and is the favourite of many, but Jerk foods available range from the “different” such as Jerk Fish, Jerk Shrimp and Jerk Yam, to the downright innovative and unusual, such as Jerk Ice Cream.
In the highly contested Jerk Cook-off Competition, individuals will square off vying for cash prizes, the coveted Dutch Pot Trophy and bragging rights. It is serious competition.
At the Western Union Cultural Heritage Village, there will be a presentation by the Queens Drama Troupe celebrating the life and legacy of Jamaica’s lone female heroine, Nanny of the Maroons. Other attractions include performances by the Jamaican Folk Revue, book readings and a display of indigenous fruits and spices.
New to the festival this year will be the Art of Food & Wine Pairing by Purple Reign Inc. Guests will learn the basics in food and wine pairing by a professional Food & Wine Expert while savoring the magic of the surrounding atmosphere.
“Don’t get us wrong, Purple Reign, Inc. knows the auspicious communion between a piping cold Red Stripe and a good jerk chicken, but why have a monogamous relationship with food and beverage pairings?” stated Dinkinish O’Connor of Purple Reign Inc. “Exploring the endless possibilities of Jerk foods with the wines from all over the world is a gastronomic adventure and Purple Reign, Inc. will escort its guests in fine style at the festival.”
Boston Jerk Booth at 2005 Jerk Fest
Other activities that round out the festival include fine cuisine jerk demonstrations by acclaimed Caribbean chefs, a Dominoes tournament, where the winner goes on to compete in the Air Jamaica World Domino Championships, all expenses paid. A kids’ fun zone with rides, rock climbing, bounce house and face painting to keep the younger ones occupied.
A number of activities are scheduled to take place between noon and 4 p.m. keeping everyone engaged and excited before the main stage entertainment begins.
Already confirmed for the main stage this year is Byron Lee and the Dragonaires, Ernie Smith and Pluto & Company.
Negotiations are in progress for other performers to appear at the festival. Jerry D of Jamaica will be on hand as usual to handle announcements and perform his usual antics.
“We are really striving to make the Jamaican Jerk Festival a true family event,” says Eddy Edwards of Riddims Marketing, co-promoters of the event with Jamaica Awareness, Inc. “Our goal is to make it one of the top Caribbean festivals in South Florida, as we expose this unique Jamaican cuisine in a very authentic manner.”
The Jamaican Jerk Festival is produced by Ridims Marketing and Jamaica Awareness, Inc. and is presented by Air Jamaica. Sponsors are by Western Union, Grace Foods, Maroone Toyota, Ting, D&G Sodas, DelanceyHill, P.A., and WAVS Radio.