by Howard Campbell
SOUTH FLORIDA – After a two-year break, the Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival returns to South Florida with plenty on its plate. Eddy Edwards, who co-founded the event 20 years ago, told South Florida Caribbean News that there is plenty to celebrate.
The show takes place November 13 at Miramar Regional Park. As usual, it showcases the best in jerked cuisine and music from top acts like Tarrus Riley and Romain Virgo. But Edwards is just as excited about new features.
“This year we have so many new additions as we celebrate the festival’s 20th anniversary, title sponsor Grace Foods’ 100th anniversary and Jamaica’s 60th year of independence.
Jerk Festival App
One of the main additions this year is the Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival app, which is available for Apple and Android systems. This is going to be a game-changer as fans can purchase tickets on the app, pre-order food from the Boston Jerk vendor and use the ‘Jerk Eats’ Concierge service,” Edwards disclosed.
Jerk Festival NFT Token
“The first 3,000 fans who download the Jerk Festival app will receive a free Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival NFT token which we anticipate will increase in value over time. This is our foray into the world of crypto-currency which is only going to become a way of life in the future and we want to be one of the events at the forefront of this new way of doing business,” he added.
COVID-19 forced Edwards and his team to cancel the past two years. He said organizers have been planning for this year since January, 2020, just before anxiety surrounding the pandemic heightened.
The absence, Edwards noted, has added to fever-pitch anticipation for the Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival’s return. A full house is expected for its second staging in Miramar.
“The team is excited to be able to present the 20th anniversary of the Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic. There is great anticipation from the public as the event appeals to every member of the family, the core Caribbean community as well as mainstream audiences. It definitely is a good feeling to be back!” he exclaimed.
Edwards is from Kingston, Jamaica’s capital, but has lived in the United States for over 35 years. But for one year which he spent in New York, he has lived in South Florida and helped put his country’s culture on the region’s map as a Disc Jockey and promoter of the Jerk Festival.
As he and his team prepare to blow out the candles, Edwards reflects on 20 years with pride.
Enjoying Jamaican Culture
“The most satisfying aspect of the Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival is to see families and people of all ethnicities enjoy the various aspects of Jamaican culture. It is also a pleasure to see all the months of planning come together to surpass expectations and deliver enjoyable experiences to patrons and rewarding results to sponsors,” he said.