The annual Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival will be back at RFK Stadium, in Washington, D.C., on June 10th to deliver a gastronomical and cultural experience to thousands of patrons who will feast, frolic and dance to celebrate the food, music and culture of the Caribbean. “June is National Caribbean-American Heritage Month and the festival was intentionally staged in the month of June specifically to celebrate and highlight our Caribbean heritage,” stated Eddy Edwards, CEO of Jamaican Jerk Festival USA, Inc., at the media launch which took place on Thursday, April 12th at the Embassy of Jamaica in Washington, D.C.
Prominent community notables as well as media representatives and influencers in the Washington, D.C., Baltimore and Virginia locales were on hand to receive firsthand information from festival organizers as well as network with sponsors and other stakeholders. Charge d’ affairs Andrea Dubidad-Dixon welcomed guests on behalf of the Ambassador and the Jamaican people while GraceKennedy Foods USA’s President and CEO, Derrick Reckord expressed pleasure in the productive and successful relationship between Grace Foods and the Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival production teams. He also commended them for their professional execution and consistently raising the bar with innovative ideas.
Festival coordinator Richard Lue provided a background on the growth of the festival from its inaugural staging on Pennsylvania Avenue to finding a home at RFK Stadium. Lue also announced some of the changes to the festival’s layout to include a bigger footprint to accommodate new sponsor Shoppers supermarket and the Shopper’s Culinary Pavilion. There is also the extended use of the main stage to present cultural performers as well as the popular contemporary headliners.
The room buzzed with excitement as Lue announced the performers scheduled to perform on the main stage. Reggae ambassadors Third World will grace the stage along with the “energy god” Elephant Man bringing the dancehall flavor while Alison Hinds will be on hand to please the soca lovers. Also scheduled to perform is New Kingston, Xyclone, Sounds of Culture, Malcolm X Drummers and Dancers, Divine Divas, storyteller Joelle Wright along with Ricky Platinum selecting some classic hits and reggae anthems will keep everyone entertained. Hosts will be Ragashanti, veteran radio broadcaster Tony Carr and Michael Campbell. Campbell was also MC for the media reception at the Jamaican Embassy.
In addition to the main stage performances, the festival will offer multiple experiences as the air will be thick with the aromas and flavors of Caribbean-inspired cuisine filling the festival grounds with food vendors offering a variety of food choices. Patrons can view culinary demonstrations, product sampling and interactive activities with prizes and giveaways. At the Shoppers Culinary Pavilion will be “Taste the Islands” Chef Irie and DC’s own Chef “Jumoke” Jackson and other celebrity chefs showing off their culinary skills with food demos. There’s also a Kids Zone offering face painting, rides and storytelling. Patrons can stroll and discover unusual novelties, trinkets and their island t-shirts from a number of arts and crafts vendors willing to offer bargain prices for their wares.
The festival is scheduled for Sunday, June 10, 2018 from 11am to 8pm at RFK Stadium, Festival Lawn at Oklahoma Avenue, Lot 6. Tickets are $25 general admission; $125 for VIP offering an all-inclusive experience with convenient access and front of stage viewing area can be purchased at DCJerkFestival.com or at local authorized ticket outlets throughout the DMV. Special discount for military and students with I.D., available online.
The 3rd Annual Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival DC is presented by Jamaican Jerk Festival NY, LLC, in association with the Institute for Caribbean Studies. Sponsors are Grace Foods, Shoppers Supermarkets, VP Records, The Jamaica Tourist Board, Giant Foods, PNC Bank, Ablazin Radio with support from the Mayor’s Advisory Commission on Caribbean Community Affairs.