This year’s fifth installment of the annual Caribbean Village Festival was held on June 23rd at the Regional Park Amphitheater in Miramar, Florida. In prior years, the festival was sitused in Lauderhill at the Sports Park. During the summer in South Florida, it is rainy season so there was definitely a value-add in holding the event under an open-air amphitheater that is covered. The festival organizers also saw an advantage in Miramar’s proximity to the major I-75 highway and in the city also being closer to Miami. As such, the central location of Miramar’s Regional Park Amphitheater aimed to draw festival goers from not only greater Miami, but also from all over the globe.
In the effort to enhance the food and entertainment experience at the 2019 edition of the Caribbean Village Festival, the event featured a tasting village where patrons were able to sample tapas-style cuisine servings from fifteen islands across the Caribbean as well Caribbean beers and rum samples. What’s more, there were cooking demonstrations and competitions, which were complemented nicely by offerings of pepperpot soup from Grenada, Jamaican oxtail stew, and St. Lucian green curry shrimp.
On the entertainment side, there were several internationally acclaimed musical performers, including the soca queen herself, Alison Hinds, from Barbados, Jamaican reggae and dancehall singing sensation, Shenseea, and Julian Believe from the Bahamas. It should be noted that there was a wrinkle in the music program in that Jamaica’s Inner Circle reggae band was supposed to perform, but had travel difficulties in Europe and could not make it to the show. However, the organizers were quick to more than compensate for that by having Inner Circle’s stage time filled by members of the Marley Family. That is, Yohan Marley and JoMersa Marley along with a pair of their cousins performed very well to the delight of the audience and, as it happened, they also did their own renditions of a few of their grandfather’s (late reggae king, Bob Marley) songs.
Aside from the food, fun and entertainment, last year’s festival benefitted low-income and disadvantaged students by raising $ 35,000 for the Galleon Foundation in order to provide student scholarships and mentoring initiatives in the South Florida region. And Caribbean Village Festival 2019 certainly had it in mind to eclipse last year’s haul for the foundation in adding so many features and enhancements to an already high-caliber event in years past.
Photography by Nick Ford, who lives and works in South Florida.