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CK Jerk Shack food truck: MyFoxORLANDO.com - February 2, 2012
Winter Park Magazine - May 2009
Jamaica Gleaner Online
Barbara Ellington, Lifestyle EditorCopyright Jamaica-Gleaner.com
The Jamaican Jerk Festival held annually in South Florida for the past five years has now cemented itself in the psyche of Jamaicans, Caribbean peoples generally, and other races more with each passing year.
Scheduled to start at noon, from as early as 11:00 a.m. on Sunday, September 24, the early arrivals were mostly Caucasians. They came early, bought their jerk meats, ate, drank, soaked up the atmosphere and departed early. Not so the Caribbean folk. Lovers of jerk came first in trickles, then in droves and even after 7:00 p.m., with traffic backed up for miles, were still patiently making their way into Markham Park.
As organisers, Jamaica Awareness Inc. and Riddims Marketing busied themselves ensuring that all ran smoothly but the promised sunny weather turned to showers by 1:30 p.m. The downpour aborted lessons by fast bowling great Ambassador Courtney Walsh and interrupted children at play in the kiddies area. But the music never stopped and sponsors booths, like Jamaica National Building Society, Western Union, Air Jamaica, and numerous others had their hands full as they fielded questions from the thousands who packed the park.
Meanwhile, one of the main highlights of the jerk festival - the Jerk Cook-Off contest - was in high gear at the centre of the park. As eager onlookers waited, there were cooking demonstrations and tastings of wines to be paired with jerk meats. When the smoke cleared, Bernet Spence took the Golden Dutch Pot Trophy and US$500 cash prize for the third year in arrow. Second place winner was Mark Robinson with the silver trophy, and in third place was Stafford Wallace, who received the bronze Dutch Pot trophy.
Four time contestant
Spence told The Sunday Gleaner, "I have entered four times and won first place three times and I feel good that my efforts are recognised," he said, adding that he does most of the cooking at home.
The only damper on this year's festival was that favourite and authentic jerk stall Boston Jerk Pork got off to a late start and never regained momentum. Many purchasers of the signature delight were refunded and had to dine on the spicy meats prepared by other jerk experts.
Head of Riddims Marketing, Eddy Edwards, told The Sunday Gleaner that this year they improved the overall look and feel of the festival. "We were able to improve on the number of food vendors which eliminated the long lines for food.
"There is still room for improvement in how patrons access the festival and we will be working with the police, parking crew and park personnel to increase traffic flow and reduce long lines at the entrance. Attendance this year was 7,500, which was about the same as last year," Mr. Edwards said.
For his part, co-organiser and head of Jamaica Awareness Inc., Sydney Roberts, said they had corrected all that went wrong last year and the event grew in terms of numbers.
"We have plans to bring new things to the event, details of which will be revealed in time. But I am pleased with the overall acceptance and appeal of the festival and proud that Jamaican brands are holding their own on the international stage," Mr. Roberts said.
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Eat jerk. Be happy, mon!TM