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Annual jerk festival returns this weekend

Mayor Bill de Blasio will be challenging Lisa Hanna in the jerk cook-off at the festival.
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There’s going to be jerk and more.

The Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival returns again this weekend to Roy Wilkins Park on July 23 from noon to 8 pm. The seventh annual food and music event celebrating Jamaican culture will feature all types of food, including the beloved jerk, and a cook off contest between Mayor DeBlasio and former Jamaica Miss World, Lisa Hanna. The two will be competing in the Celebrity Quick-Fire Challenge and the two-time winning mayor will defend his title against Hanna this Sunday.

One of the highlights of the jerk festival is the cooking demonstrations of the Culinary Pavilion where guests and popular chefs get to interact. This year’s hosts are chef Hugh Sinclair and chef Wenford Patrick Simpson, and set to show off their cooking skills and new recipes is returning chef Andre Fowles and chef Max Hardy.

For entertainment, the festival will have musical performances from soca singer Alison Hinds and reggae legend Barrington Levy, and many more. And even folk singers and dancers will also take the stage.

Organizers say that the festival is one of the leading opportunities they get to expose the multiple aspects of Jamaican culture to New Yorkers in one day.

“We are espousing a part of our culture that’s endemic and that we share with the world our food, our music, and our culture,” said Abdul Muhsin, director of the festival. “Everybody loves jerk, everybody loves reggae and everybody loves Morgan Heritage, Alison Hinds, Konshens and Barrington Levy.”

And on the heels of the anniversary of Jamaica’s independence, the day will not miss the chance to celebrate also.

“It’s Jamaica’s 55th year of independence, so we want to make it extra special and memorable for our patrons,” said Bridget Edwards, a coordinator with the event. “With the theme ‘Celebrating Jamaica 55’, performances will be focused on various factors of Jamaican heritage and traditions.”

Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival at Roy Wilkins Park [Merrick and Baisley boulevards in St. Albans, Queens. (718) 425-1177, www.jerkfestivalny.com. July 23, noon – 8 pm. $35.

Reach reporter Alexandra Simon at (718) 260–8310 or e-mail her at asimon@cnglocal.com.
Updated 3:05 am, July 10, 2018
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