Everyone knows Jerkfest, or to give its official title ‘The Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival’ held in Roy Wilkins Park on Sunday July 19 is all about food! Culinary connoisseurs expect, not just any old food, but Jamaican food prefixed by the word ‘jerk’.
The Cook-off competition, is always a popular diversion and this year was no exception, with crowds jostling for space to witness Mayor de Blasio retain his 2014 title as he hoisted the award for his Swagga Sandwich, beating out opponent the popular Kaci Fennell, Miss Universe Jamaica .
It seemed as though the musical entertainment, which normally takes priority in NY park festivals, was an after-thought with its nominal line-up. However, I must say more than adequate entertainment was on display. From the gospel kick off with famed Carlene Davis, once a reggae stalwart, now singing praises to God, to Fab 5, so aptly named whose repertoire never fails to showcase the versatility and relevance of this Jamaican band. Also appearing Sanchez, Baby Cham. Romaine Virgo, and King Jammy’s legendary ‘sound system’.
On what was touted as the hottest day in July, the crowds came out in their thousands, but there was less movement and more taking refuge in whatever shade was available then reclining after sampling all the delightful food on offer, washed down with some free Grace juices reminding some of a piece of Jamaica WI in Jamaica, NY.