by Howard Campbell
SOUTH FLORIDA – Eddy Edwards, co-founder of the Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival, is pleased with its 2023 staging which took place November 12 at Miramar Regional Park.
The 21st renewal of the show which is a staple on South Florida’s leisure calendar, drew over 8,000 patrons. They savored jerked foods and watched the performances of Bermudian singer Collie Buddz, Grammy winners Morgan Heritage, deejay Ding Dong and his Ravers dancers.
There were also long lines of patrons at the many booths who sold various types of jerked cuisine — chicken, pork and fish, as well as popular Jamaican dishes such as escoveitched fish, curried goat and roasted corn.
“Based on feedback we are receiving, lots of positives and most guests had an enjoyable experience. Some guests had challenges, some with the wait to get in, or with the long lines to purchase food, but overall we are pleased with the outcome of this year’s festival,” said Edwards.
The always popular Celebrity Chef Challenge was retained for a second year by NBC-6’s Cherney Amhara, who got the better of WPLG’s Alexis Frazier.
Key Marketing Efforts
Edwards, who was one of the partners who started ‘Jerk Fest’ in 2001, believes renewed focus on their prime attraction paid dividends this year.
“Our marketing focused on the food and positioned the festival more as a food festival than a concert and we were happy the way the public responded with a strong turnout. To see everyone enjoying the culinary and cultural presentations on the Western Union stage was a high point,” he said.
The over 8,000 fans who turned up at Miramar Regional Park bettered last year’s turnout by over 1,000 which Edwards noted was the 2023 Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival’s biggest accomplishment.
“There is nothing to be disappointed about. Weather-wise we had a perfect day, good attendance and all the elements came together to deliver an awesome experience for our guests,” he said.