The organizers of the Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival held their Kick-Off event on Saturday June 3rd, 2017, at the VP Records retail Store in Jamaica Queens. The annual occasion, aptly called “A Taste of Jerk” serves as a way to notify the press of the various features and entertainment they can expect at the festival scheduled for Sunday, July 23rd at Roy Wilkins Park in Queens.
The press conference and food competition was held from 12-2 pm, while the public participated in the festivities which included a live remote by Irie Jam Radio, from 2-5 pm.
Participating vendors Yardie’s, Food R Us, Natwerks, Freckles Juice Bar and Miller Health & Nutrition sampled their specialties to an eager group of media and festival supporters. The vendors then took part in a food competition which was judged by TV Host & Celebrity Chef Wenford Patrick Simpson, of B.B. King. The winning restaurant, Yardie’s took home the festival’s famous Dutch Pot Trophy.
Coming off the heels of a 2017 Grammy win, Morgan Heritage, who will be performing at this year’s festival, signed copies of their latest album “Avrakedabra” and took photos with attendees. Also performing at the 2017 Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival New York are current dancehall sensation Konshens, Reggae legend Barrington Levy, Soca star Alison Hinds as well as Blakka Ellis and The Braata Folk Singers. Chef Patrick Simpson along with other notable chefs will be displaying their culinary skills in the Cook-off pavilion.
Patricia Chin, founder of VP Records, graciously told the crowd “VP Records is excited to be part of the Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival for the past 7 years. This event has been all about community building.” She also thanked the media for their support over the years.
“The Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival presents the best in food, fun and music,” said Eddy Edwards, CEO of Jamaican Jerk Festival, USA, Inc. “When these three elements come together, you get the biggest Jerk Festival in New York and we are planning to deliver an awesome festival experience for our guests again this year.”