Fri | Jul 10, 2020

Grace J'can Jerk Festival DC to serve up island flavour

Published:Thursday | May 10, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Alison Hinds

June is National Caribbean American Heritage Month, the time of year when jerk flavours will waft in the air at the Festival Lawn at RFK Stadium in Washington, DC, for the third annual Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival. Mark your calendars and get your tickets early to enjoy the all-day event on Sunday, June 10, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Those in the know attend the annual event to feast on a variety of jerk delicacies, observe culinary demonstrations and contests, cultural presentations, contemporary entertainment on the main stage, while the little ones delight in the Kidz Zone. They also come for family, fun, fellowship and the cool jerk festival vibe they have come to know and love.

Bringing a lot of heat to the day's entertainment will be the interna-tionally acclaimed reggae ambassa-dors, Third World, who will delight patrons with their string of popular hits and reggae classics. Dancehall sensation Elephant Man will thrill the ladies with his high-energy performance, and soca queen Alison Hinds is sure to electrify the masses who will be dancing and singing to her party anthems. New Kingston will add a taste of roots rock reggae, while DJ Ricky Platinum will add even more flavour to the festival's extensive entertainment package with a selection of dance hits and club favourites between sets. Tony Carr, host of This is Reggae Music, along with Ragashanti of Tamborine Radio will perform MC duties.

This year, the main stage will open with cultural presentations from some of DC's leading groups such as The Malcolm X Drummers and Dancers, led by Doc Powell; storyteller and author Joelle Wright; as well as Divine Divas, a motivational modelling group of teens and children. Sounds of Culture will present traditional Jamaican folk and mento songs while recording artiste and influencer Xyclone will bring a reggae-dancehall flavour. Popular DC-based MC Michael Campbell will host this segment and engage the audience with his witty and humorous style.


Event highlights


Other highlights of the event include the Shoppers' Culinary Pavilion, which will feature cooking demonstrations and tastings by Chef Irie, host of the 'Taste the Islands' television show on PBS. Washington, DC's own Chef Giovanni Merle and Chef 'Jumoke' Jackson will showcase tasty recipes, while a fierce celebrity cook-off will add enjoyment as the crowd cheers on its favourite celebrity competing for bragging rights.

There's also a Kids Zone offering face-painting, rides, and story-telling. Patrons can stroll and discover unusual novelties, trinkets, and their island T-shirts from a number of art and craft vendors willing to offer bargain prices for their wares.

The festival is scheduled for Sunday, June 10, 2018 from 11 a.m., to 8 p.m., at RFK Stadium, Festival Lawn at Oklahoma Avenue, Lot 6. Tickets are $25 for general admission; $125 for VIP, offering an all-inclusive food and premium drink experience with convenient access and front-of-stage viewing area. Tickects can be purchased at or at local authorised ticket outlets through-out the DMV. Special discounts for military personnel and students with ID are available online.

The third annual Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival DC is presented by Jamaican Jerk Festival NY, LLC, in association with the Institute for Caribbean Studies, with support from the Mayor's Advisory Commission on Caribbean Community Affairs. The sponsors are Grace Foods, Shoppers Supermarkets, VP Records, Giant Foods, and Ablazin Radio.