Gareth Davis, Gleaner Writer
PORT ANTONIO, Portland:
HAVING SECURED a title sponsor for this year's staging, the annual Portland Best Dressed Chicken Jerk Festival will be held over three days as opposed to the regular one-day event.
The Portland jerk weekend will begin on Friday with a Port Antonio Fashion Night Out, as organisers have decided to up the tempo and to provide patrons with a taste and experience of the parish's splendour and activities.
"The jerk weekend will be a memorable one," said Colin Bell. "The Portland Best Dressed Chicken Festival is a Jamaica 50th official celebratory event, and we intend to showcase Portland. And in doing so, we have decided that such an event has to be held over three days, which therefore means that as organisers we have to go all out. Friday, June 29 will signal the start of the jerk festival weekend."
Loads of activities
The three-day event will begin with a Twenty20 cricket match at Folly Oval on June 29, along with a drama competition involving a number of schools, followed by a Jerk Fashion Night Out. Friday's event will climax with a massive street dance.
On Saturday, June 30, persons will be afforded the opportunity of discovering the parish and its beauty, including visits to the various attraction sites such as Rio Grande rafting, Blue Lagoon, Reach Falls, and Sommerset Falls. An all-inclusive party at will climax Saturday's events.
Member of Parliament Dr Linvale Bloomfield commended the organisers for their vision in seeking to showcase Portland and its natural beauty. Similarly, Mayor of Port Antonio Benny White also gave his blessings to the event, which he believes will create some level of employment.
Meanwhile, Cordia Panton-Williams of Best Dressed Chicken said it is going to be a hot and spicy July 1 festival. She pointed out that Jamaica Broilers, through its brand Best Dressed Chicken and Reggae Jammin, has been associated with the Portland Jerk Festival for more than 10 years.
"This year, we have become title sponsor. This event captures an audience of more than 20,000 patrons from home and abroad to experience a true Jamaican family oriented event. We fully endorse this Jamaica 50th Best Dressed Chicken Portland Jerk Festival."
A Maroon village will also be on display, which will showcase a bit of Jamaica's history, food, and other cultural practices. There will also be a cultural village, a kiddies' village and other local acts.
This year, patrons can expect a wide variety of foods, with the addition of conch, mutton, shrimp and lobster, all cooked in traditional authentic jerk sauce.
Vegetarian meals will also be available.