Thousands attend Annual Grace Jerk Festival in Florida


Jamaicans in South Florida and friends of the island, turned out in their numbers on Sunday November 14 to celebrate the island’s rich culinary heritage, at the ninth annual Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival held at Markham Park at Sunrise in Broward County, Florida.
Billed as the largest Caribbean food festival in the United States, the fair showcased a wide array of authentic Jamaican food, sauces, and condiments, and featured entertainment, games, and art and craft.
The bumper crowd, estimated at 15,000, descended on the food pavilion, where they thrilled their palates with traditional jerk fare such as pork and chicken. The unique blend of seasonings was also used to prepare jerk seafood, tofu, yams, vegetables, popcorn and ice-cream, the latter of which was a hit. “I like the taste. Ice cream with a blend of pepper taste?” exclaimed Marjorie Samms.

Patrons enjoy the attractive display of local sauces, herbs, spices and craft by Scotch Bonnet King, a newly formed company in South Florida. Occasion was the annual Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival held on Sunday November 14 at Sunrise in Broward County, Florida. These items are produced in commercial quantities for local and foreign markets.

She said she enjoys the annual festival, which “boasts a blend of Jamaica’s finest and best.”
This year’s show had some new elements including an agricultural booth showcasing gardens and locally grown scotch bonnet peppers and scallion. Jamaican sorrel and pumpkin plants also adorned the stall.
Other first time attractions were kite-flying, games and rides for the younger patrons, and the ‘Grace Jerk Idol’ booth, where competitors vied for prizes as they competed in a karaoke competition to the amusement of large crowd.
The annual Jerk Cook-off Competition, which is a main attraction, went to 2009 winner, Restaurateur, Robert Wong, who earned a US$1,500 cash prize and the coveted gold Dutch Pot trophy. Chef Michelle Jones of Miami, and Bob Robinson of Orlando, placed second and third respectively, gaining cash prizes and trophies as well.

A section of the large crowd at the annual Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival held last Sunday November 14 at Sunrise in Broward County, Florida.

As title sponsors, Grace Foods, mounted its own display, showcasing its wide range of authentic Caribbean food products.
Newly formed agricultural produce and manufacturing company in South Florida, also displayed its sauces and condiments produced for the West Indian market.
Companies such as the Jamaica Tourist Board, Victoria Mutual Building Society, Jamaica National, and GraceKennedy Remittance Service/Western Union (GKRS/WU), also showcased their services.
Like the food, the entertainment package evoked feelings of nostalgia from the scores of patrons, who enjoyed the performances of traditional song, dance, and drama from winners in the annual festival competition.
A fashion show, featuring designs in Jamaica’s national colours – black, green and gold – by Jamaican national, Maisie McNaught, saw models streaming across the runway much to the delight of the crowd.
The day climaxed with performances from reggae legend John Holt, Richie Stephens, Nadine Sutherland, and the Fab Five band.

JIS Social