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May 2019

Rich, Authentic Culture on Display at Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival

CariMer Theatre Group to to perform Kumina
FORT LAUDERDALE - The beautiful Markham Park in Sunrise, Florida will become the Mecca of Jamaican culture for the highly anticipated 9th Annual Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival slated for Sunday, November 14.
The one-day, family-friendly event, which attracts over some 18,000 patrons, will offer an all- encompassing cultural experience with presentations that will take Jamaicans back home and give others a chance to feast, not only on succulent jerk foods, but on the offerings of authentic traditions. Plus, live sporting action will keep sports fans thoroughly entertained.

Showcasing Authentic Traditions on Cultural Stages

The Western Union and Digicel Cultural stages will dish out a generous helping of genuine Jamaican culture with presentations and performances that showcase the island's rich heritage, along with riveting tributes to Jamaican cultural icon and scholar, the late Professor Rex Nettleford.

According to Bridget Edwards, coordinator of the cultural stages, "The aim of the cultural stages is to feature as much local talent as we can from all age groups, making for good family fun, audience participation and entertainment through authentic folk songs, dances, Anancy stories and more."

The Western Union Cultural Stage comes alive at 12:00 noon with MC Andrene Bonner. This accomplished actress, educator, folk life specialist and founder and artistic director of Caribbean World Arts and Culture Inc. will also present her one-woman performance based on her novel Olympic Gardens.

The hilarious Chris "Johnny" Daley, Jamaican actor of Lime Tree Lane fame, will get the festivities going on the Digicel Cultural Stage, which kicks off at 1:00 p.m. Daley will also have the audience cracking up with his comedic offerings.

The late Prof. Rex Nettleford

Honoring Prof. Rex Nettleford

The festival's bid to celebrate traditions and honor cultural greatness will be on display this year, as participants pay tribute to cultural icon Prof. Nettleford through several pieces on both stages. The Fort Lauderdale-based CariMer Theater Dance Group, featuring master drummer, Congo Billy -- who performed with the National Dance Theatre Company (NDTC) during Nettleford's time -- will recreate arguably the icon's most famous choreography, "Kumina," while popular local dub poet, Malachi Smith, will perform his original piece "Kumina King." Andrene Bonner will also give tribute in spoken word (on the Western Union Stage) and on the Digicel Stage, Maxine Osbourne, Malachi Smith, and Chris Daley will bring to life Osbourne's short story "Anancy and the Yam Foot Ballet."

And what would our culture be without unique and imaginative fashion? That's where the Ashanti Fashion Show by Kulture Klothes comes in. Watch models show off bold Afrocentric designs from the Miami Gardens-based boutique in honor of Prof. Nettleford's Ashanti/Maroon heritage.

Other presentations including lively cultural expressions from the Miss Jamaica Florida Pageant Ambassadors; engaging book and poetry readings from Children's author, Judith Hudson, and songs by Dominique and Chris Levy, will be performed on both stages. Plus there'll be tons of giveaways from Western Union and Digicel.

View preview of the festival,

Fun For Everyone

At the Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival, patrons come for the food and stay for the culture. While the spotlight is on the gastronomical delights, the variety of cultural expressions, traditional sports and sizzling hot entertainment have become as important to the festival as the jerk itself.

The fun will begin from the moment the gates open 10:00 a.m. and continue until the Main Stage closes at 10:00 p.m. So come for the food, bring the family and invite your neighbors to delight in this melting pot of food, culture and entertainment at the 9th Annual Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival.

Patrons will be thoroughly entertained with the offerings on the Main Stage, which will feature world renowned Byron Lee's Dragonaires, John Holt, Ritchie Stevensand Nadine Sutherland. Local saxophonist, Bunny Bonito, Caribbean Music Farm and Code Red Band will all bring great Caribbean entertainment to thrill the audience with a mix of reggae, soca and other Caribbean rhythms; and the kids will be kept busy all day in the Kidz Fun Zone.

The Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival is presented by Publix and Digicel and Sponsored by Western Union, Air Jamaica, The Jamaica Tourist Board, Barefoot Wine & Bubbly, WAVS Radio, Hot 105, TeleAmerica, Jamaica National and VitaMalt. The event is produced by Jamaican Jerk Festival USA, Inc., in association with Jamaica Awareness, Inc.

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