Over 10,000 Patrons Savor Jerk Cuisine at Florida Jerk Festival

Over 10,000 Patrons Savor Jerk Cuisine at Florida Jerk Festival

by Howard Campbell

[WEST PALM BEACH] –  When he and his team announced the Florida Jerk Festival in May, Damian Tater admits there was uncertainty among their ranks, even though he has been promoting such events for nearly 20 years.

The Florida Jerk Festival — a merger of the Palm Beach and Orlando festivals. The festival debuted on July 4 at the South Florida Fairgrounds in West Palm Beach.

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Tater, CEO of the event, estimates over 10,000 patrons turned out to savor jerked cuisine from vendors mainly from Florida. They were also entertained by Vincentian soca singer Skinny Fabulous, Jamaican soul-reggae quartet LUST and Grammy winner Shaggy.

Shaggy and Jamaican Consul General, Oliver Mair

Grammy winner Shaggy with Jamaica’s Consul General, Oliver Mair

“It exceeded my expectations. We didn’t put much planning into this one. Our Team just wanted to keep the brand alive. And, let the people know that we are still around,” said Tater. “We definitely accomplished that.”

Originally from rural Clarendon parish in central Jamaica, Tater has lived in Florida for 29 years. He was part of the organization that started the Palm Beach Jerk Festival 18 years ago, and the Orlando Jerk Festival in 2014.

Florida Jerk Festival 2021

Two months ago, they announced a merge of the shows in a re-branding move to reach a wider audience and attract mainstream sponsorship. The Palm Beach event’s main sponsors were 411 Pain and Jamaica National.

Due to COVID-19, both shows were cancelled last year. The Orlando leg is scheduled for later this year at the Central Florida Fairgrounds.

Tater and his team are determined to take their momentum from Palm Beach to central Florida.

“We just have to meet as a team, put our reports together and then determine the quick fixes for the minor issues,” he said.

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