TORONTO, Ontario August 1, 2018 – The 17th annual Grace International Jerk Food and Music Festival returns to Centennial Park in Etobicoke, from August 9-12, featuring authentic Caribbean cuisine, live entertainment and fun activities for the entire family. With a talented line-up of musicians and a variety of vendors at the festival, there is something for everyone to enjoy throughout the weekend.
Grace JerkFest — an annual event, celebrating jerk cuisine and Caribbean culture and organized by the not-for-profit organization, Caribbean Promotions Arts & Culture Inc. — has been voted by BlogTO as one of Toronto’s top 50 must-attend summer events in 2014 and 2015 and one of Ontario’s top 100 festivals since 2011.
“Over the years, attending the Grace Jerk Festival has become a tradition for people of all ages across Ontario,” says Anthony Plummer, Executive Director of the Festival. “We are so excited to be back for our 17thyear and we encourage everyone to join us as we celebrate the fusion of jerk food, pulsating music, family friendly entertainment and good vibes.”
Some highlights of this year’s festival include:
JerkFest’s Meet and Greet Boat Cruise
The River Gambler will set sail on August 9, from Pier 31 in downtown Toronto, for a night of live music, meet and greets and great fun. Guests will have the opportunity to meet Canadian R&B singer, Melanie Durrant, along with Jamaican reggae duo, Chaka Demus and Pliers. Music will be spun by Canadian reggae DJ, Spex Da Boss, a jerk meal will be served during the three-hour cruise.
Hot and Spicy Jerk Chicken Eating Competition
Compete throughout the weekend and test your taste buds with some of the most delicious and spiciest jerk cuisine. Guests can register ahead of time or at the event.
So You Think You Can Jerk Competition
Put your jerk chicken cooking skills on display and enter the daily competition. The best in seasoning and jerking from each day’s competition will receive a trophy and a $100 cash prize. Runners-up will receive Grace JerkFest merchandise.
Created to honour the arts and local talent, upcoming artists will perform, on stage, showcasing their musical — and non-musical — performances.
This year, the Cultural Stage will host exceptional local talent throughout the weekend. Guests can expect to see performances by the Grace JerkFest Rising Star Competitors, the DJ Competitors and the TD Bank Dancers.
“We are thrilled to welcome local artists and experience their great talents here at Grace JerkFest,” says Plummer. “The festival is all about people coming together within our community and beyond, so these performers will really capture that spirit.”
Featured this year is the Creation Sings Youth Choir, a community choir that uses costumes and theatrical performances to enhance their music. Accomplished Toronto rapper, actor and song writer, Veshone Cunningham, will also perform.
Kerry-Lee Crawford, on-air host at G98.7 FM and co-founder of The LOVE Project, will appear on the festival stage. Richie-Flo, a reggae recording artist, songwriter and producer from Toronto, will also share his talents, while proudly representing his native country of Jamaica.
More performances this year on the TD Cultural Stage will include Marcia Barnes, Pan Fantasy Steelband, Spice Island Performers (a non-profit charitable organization), The Band Noww, The Unknowns and Twinzalyke.
“There is something for everyone at the festival and we welcome everyone in the city and beyond to come experience it,” says Plummer. “It is the perfect time to get together with family and friends and enjoy the tastes and sounds of the Caribbean.”
The festival will also feature a Kidz Zone for families and children to enjoy, which will include face painting, balloon characters, rides, rock climbing and a meet-and-greet with Caillou and the Care Bears. This feature will take place Saturday and Sunday and requires wristbands or tickets.