The Heart Foundation of Jamaica's annual Wine and Food Festival, Simply Red, will this year move to a bigger venue to accommodate increased attendance from patrons who are expected to support their $10-million fund-raising drive.
The new venue for the 23-year-old festival, which will be held on Friday, September 28, is the lawns of Jamaica House.
In 1989, the first festival, then known as the Wine and Cheese Festival, was held at King's House. The event remained at that location for several years but, as it flourished, venues such as Liguanea Club, Jamaica House and LIME Golf Academy were also used.
Approximately five years ago, due to the interest shown by prospective sponsors, the name of the event was changed from the Wine and Cheese Festival to Wine and Food Festival, to incorporate more varied options and appeal to a wider audience outside of just cheese lovers.
For the past several years, the festival has been held at the LIME Golf Academy in New Kingston but, according to the foundation's Fund Development and Communications Manager Yasmin Salmon Russell, it has outgrown that venue.
"Based on the early positive indications from our repeat sponsors, new sponsors and celebrity caterers, we decided that the venue was too small to host our $10-million drive. The support for this year's event is overwhelming, as persons are extremely excited about the exotic culinary delights, the celebration of Jamaican cuisine, in the context of our Jamaica 50 celebration, and, most importantly, being part of an initiative designed to decrease the incidence of deaths due to heart-related diseases. Jamaica House was approached and we are very happy that they have graciously agreed to facilitate us," she said.
The festival was rebranded Simply Red last year through support from volunteer celebrity chef Lorraine Fung and event stylist Joan Young-Davis. This year's event, themed 'Out of Many ... One Heart', is aimed at raising $10 million to increase the ability of the foundation to fight heart-related diseases - the number-one cause of death in Jamaica, to help maintain the foundation's in-house clinic services and mobile outreach programme, and its cardiopulmonary resuscitation training programme.
Simply Red will be proudly celebrating Jamaica 50 through offering different elements which have influenced Jamaican cuisine. The four-hour affair will feature three international celebrity chefs, 60 display booths, show cooking presented on two main stages, a fine assortment of wines and an evening of amazing culinary offerings where guests will be able to indulge in a delectable array of menu offerings prepared by ethnic chefs. The menu will include authentic South African, European, Indian, Chinese and Jamaican traditional dishes.
An online option of purcahsing tickets is offered through www.yardticket.com.