Culture Galore and So Much More at the Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival

Delectable jerk foods, awesome entertainment, and a healthy serving of authentic culture-these are just some of the reasons thousands of people descend on Markham Park in Sunrise year after year for the fun-filled Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival. The 14th annual event, slated for Sunday, November 8, 2015, is expected to live up to its reputation and exceed expectations, as organizers are upping the ante so everyone can “Get a Taste of Fun.”

Cultural Stages coordinator Bridget Edwards is very excited about this year’s event since the Western Union Cultural Stage and the Fuzion Soundstage have been expanded to showcase even more culture with action-packed performances, demonstrations and mini workshops. The presentations will take some patrons down memory lane, expose the young ones to their roots, and introduce others to a culture that, like our famous jerk, is loved around the world. From 12 noon to 4 p.m. patrons will get a taste of culture on both these stages and will have a chance to participate in some events for a more interactive exchange.

Over on the Western Union Cultural Stage, the audience will delight in the talented dancers from Vision Dance Company, singers Shanna Lee & 86, Singa K, and enjoy poetry from Sheldon Shepherd of the group No-Maddz. For the fashion-forward patrons, Maxwell Royalty’s innovative designers will showcase their stylish clothing-all made from recycled materials. And to to round of the festivities, there will be a drumming workshop and a massage demonstration by Judy from Samadhi Spa. Of course, comedian Chris “Johnny” Daley will bring his brand of comedy as he plays host on this stage.

Not to be outdone, the Fuzion Soundstage, with MC Yvette Marshall of WAVS 1170, will feature exhilarating performances from local acoustic guitarist, Sekajipo and singer, Mackeehan Solomon out of Jamaica, among others.

The main event, however, is a tribute to Bob Marley by all the performers, including the Army Gideon Band. A Mama Yashi fashion show will also celebrate the reggae legend in fine threads.

And, if anyone misses the performances on the cultural stages, they might just get a taste of “Street Dub Vibe” featuring a troupe of roving dub poets, models, belly dancers, Sasa African Dance Theater and other cultural presentations-all orchestrated by “Johnny” Daley. “He is such a talented performer,” says Edwards, “the audiences love him he adds his own special twist to whatever we present-we can’t do it without him. He is the best … he is family!”

Edwards urges patrons to arrive early to partake in all the festival has to offer, such as fierce cooking competitions, cooking demonstrations, intense dominoes and netball competitions and the Kidz Zone with just about everything to keep the little ones entertained. Adding the final ingredient to this spicy festival is the Main Stage which will feature reggae icons Third World and Barrington Levy, plus Spred The Dub, Zeke Don, Chris Martin, a special appearance by Gentleman.

“There will be more giveaways and performers will autograph their books and CDs which will be on sale, along with fashionable items of clothing. Come early-you can’t afford to miss anything,” says Edwards.

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