A section of the crowd at the 13th Grace Jamaica Jerk Festival in Florida, last Sunday. (Photos: Kali McCarthy)—-

A MORNING thunderstorm could not put a damper on the 13th Grace Jamaica Jerk Festival at the scenic Markham Park in Sunrise, Florida, last Sunday.

The event attracted a massive crowd of Caribbean nationals and Americans, including actor Phillip Michael Thomas of Miami Vice fame. They enjoyed a live show featuring Luciano, Tarrus Riley, Duane Stephenson and ‘home boys’ Inner Circle.

The main course, however, was an array of Jamaican jerk dishes (chicken, pork, shrimp, pasta, etc) from a number of vendors who did brisk business.

Patrice, a Guyanese national who lives in South Florida, said the food and vibe make her a repeat visitor.

“I come each year for the food and the entertainment. I used to live in Jamaica so I kinda miss the whole vibe, but this event has allowed me to relive what I used to enjoy. And I also see a lot of my friends here, so it’s like a mini-reunion for me,” she said.

Carl Williams, who once resided in Portmore, St Catherine, said it was his first time at the event. He came with his wife and best friend.

“I always hear about it and I decided to make the time to attend. So far I am pleased with what I am seeing, and the food is good. Despite the rain, we still enjoyed it,” he said.

Kimberley Lue Lim, marketing manager at Grace Foods International, said the company was also satisfied.

“We have been a long-standing partner with the Jerk Festival 11 of the 13 years that it has been around and it’s a great marriage for us. It’s an important family event for us and we get to showcase our products, interact with our consumers and expose our culture to a wider community,” she told the Jamaica Observer.

Grace Foods also sponsors jerk festivals in Connecticut, New York and Atlanta.

Carson ‘Eddy’ Edwards, CEO of Jamaica Jerk Festival Inc USA, said it was another good show.

“We started with some serious thunderstorms, but I am really happy how the afternoon turned out. The crowd came in late but we had a fabulous crowd,” he said.