Food lovers feast on Jamaican jerk fare

Etana perfoming at the Jerk Festival in Roy Wilkins Park, Queens.
By Leonard McKenzie

This year VP records and Grace Foods drew a multi-cultural group of food lovers from beyond the tri–state to as far as Florida to its annual Jerk Festival. With more than 15,000 patrons in attendance, the attraction of food done the old fashioned way were savoring for food lovers. The lines at jerk stations were long as patrons waited to taste their favorite Jerk Pork or Jerk Chicken followed by jerk sea food of fish and lobster.

Although a three-foot pit with chopped wood fire covered with pimento branches wasn’t used by any vendors, the combination of charcoal smoke over grills engulfed the sky while the aroma of spices along with various jerked stations of seasoned meats and seafood filled the air over Roy Wilkins Park on Sunday, July 20 in Queens.

This year event marks the celebration of VP records’ 35th anniversary in New York, brought out most corporate sponsors that do and are in business with Caribbean islands including Western Union, Jamaica Tourist Board, Caribbean Airlines, Vitamalt and Fly Jamaica.

Grace foods, the prime sponsor was visible with samples of juices and coconut water along with its annual top chef cook off. Highlighted by the culture of music, live steel band music could be heard from the cultural island while from the main stage there were hit songs from singer Etana, Mr. Vagas and Maxi Priest who rocked the crowd. Along with the selling of various local merchandise, a creative art work done by Michael Thompson featuring reggae artists who graced the VP label impressed the fans.

A family fun filled day with something for everyone; the kids were overjoyed with their full fun “Kidz Zone.” This was the place to be as joy and laughter along with good music and good food brought us all together across the many boundaries.

Raquel, a patron of jerk festival, shows us what to do with a Jerk Lobster.
By Leonard McKenzie

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