The Jerk Food Festival (JERKFEST), the only festival of its kind in Canada celebrating “Jerk Cuisine” in combination with festivities from its culture, will be held this weekend.
Celebrating its 11th year, JERKFEST is an outdoor, two-day festival featuring activities for the entire family.
The event will feature live stage performances by internationally renowned reggae singers Admiral Bailey and Lukie D (from the group L.U.S.T.), Heritage Singers and several performers from the Greater Toronto Area. JERKFEST will also feature activities for children. From the young to the young at heart, JERKFEST has something for everyone!
Patrons can participate in jerk chicken seasoning workshops and competitions such as “Don’t Jerk That Spoon” and a “So You Think You Can Jerk Competition”. The competitions will be topped off with the cuisine itself, provided by over 20 chefs cooking up their best versions of jerk chicken, pork, beef, lamb, seafood and vegetables.
Patrons can enjoy the VIP Garden, which features all-you-can-eat burgers and chicken wings. VIP Garden patrons will have a chance to win a seven-night trip for two to Jamaica, compliments of Nolitours, G98.7FM and Holiday Inn Sunspree Resort in Montego Bay.
JERKFEST was founded 11 years ago by Anthony Plummer, in response to the lack of a festival that celebrated Jerk Food, like other widely celebrated food festivals in the Greater Toronto Area.
“Jerk food is loved by so many different cultures because the flavours are so powerful,” said Plummer. “And there’s a whole culture attached to it. It is just the same with reggae music, Bob Marley or Jamaica as a vacation destination… there’s a mystique to it all – it’s spicy, it’s hot and it’s sexy!”
Not only is JERKFEST a celebration of Jerk Cuisine, but it supports a good cause as well. This year, in celebration of Jamaica’s and Trinidad & Tobago’s 50th year of independence, “50 for 50” is being highlighted. Through donations at the gate of $2.00, 50 scholarships will be granted to students in post-secondary institutions who are pursuing studies in the arts.
Proceeds from JERKFEST will also benefit the Negril Education Environment Trust – an organization in Jamaica that aims to support education by providing a book in the hand of each child and a computer in every classroom.
JERKFEST will be held at Centennial Park (256 Centennial Park Road, Etobicoke) on Saturday, August 11 and Sunday, August 12. Gates will open on both dates at 11 a.m. Parking is free. General admission is a donation of $2. V.I.P. admission is $20 in advance.
For more information, visit www.jerkfestival.ca.