Jamaican American immigration attorney Latangie Williams and her nonprofit Jamaicans United, Inc., hosted the Jamaica booth at the annual World of Nations International Festival in Jacksonville, Florida. Participants at the event showcase their homelands, and at the Jamaica booth, this means exposing visitors to the history, culture, music, and food of the island, along with distributing literature from the Jamaica Tourist Board and providing Jamaican items such as clothing and jewelry for sale. In its nine years of participation, Williams and her nonprofit have won several awards, and in 2022, food was the star.
The Jamaican showcase was honored with the “Best Cuisine” award for 2022 for its presentation of jerk chicken. It also won the 2022 “People’s Choice” award, which recognized that the majority of festival patrons voted for the Jamaica booth as the best in its overall presentation of food, education, music, and ambiance. The food at the Jamaica booth was prepared by Denise Daley’s Caribbean Sunrise Bakery & Restaurant. The restaurant has offered exceptional cuisine in the Jacksonville area since 1996.
The Caribbean Sunrise Bakery & Restaurant has become a favorite with city residents and often participates in events, including the Black Expo, the Funk Fest, the Jerk Festival, and the Jacksonville Jazz Fest. It has also been credited with the “Best Soul Food” designation by The Buzz Magazine, and as “Jax Best” for having the Best Caribbean and Jamaican food.
The restaurant also caters weddings, birthday parties, and other occasions at destinations within the city or in surrounding areas. Its popular food truck provides office lunches and is available for events as well. The Caribbean Sunrise Bakery & Restaurant gives back to the community through its sponsorship of high school sports teams and cultural events.
The annual World of Nations celebration is the largest multicultural festival in North Florida. It was established in 1993 and features exhibitions and events from many countries. It is held in Jacksonville, Florida, and gives the city a chance to highlight the diversity of international communities in the area. It yearly attendance averages some 75,000 visitors, including 12,000 children who are brought to the festival on school field trips.
Each country represented at the festival displays its flag, and each of their exhibits has at least one individual who speaks the country’s official language. Native foods of the country are served, and each displays art, costumes, music, dance, and stories unique to their culture.
The festival features the Parade of Flags in which representatives from each country carry their flag and offer greetings in their native languages. The event also includes the “World of Kids Playland,” which offers arts and crafts and other activities for children.