The 16th Annual Jamaican Jerk Festival Returns To Sunrise This Weekend

Nov 10, 2017

This weekend, Broward County residents can expect Markham Park in Sunrise to be transformed into a Jamaican and Caribbean culture hub.  

The 16th annual Jerk Festival is back, and on three stages there will be a cooking competition as well as traditional Caribbean folk and reggae performances by Morgan Heritage and King Yellowman and the Sagittarius Band. 

Eddy Edwards is the CEO of Jamaican Jerk Festival USA Inc. 

This year he said he's expecting more than 10,000 people to come out and enjoy the music and food. Which of course, includes the Jamaican way of preparing meat, called jerk.

 

“Scotch-Bonnet Pepper which brings some heat, then the all spice that gives it a special flavor, and you know all the scallions and the onions — we prepare that with some love,” Edwards said. “Then there’s the curry, then all the rice and the beans …”

This year's festival may have a bigger group of musical and folk performances, but the traditional jerk chicken hasn't changed.
Credit Eddy Edwards/Jamaican Jerk Festival USA Inc. / WLRN

Though people might come for all of the traditional Caribbean foods, they stay for the atmosphere.

 

“You always run into someone you have not seen in such a long while. It’s just always like a family reunion,” Edwards said.

He said he chose Markham Park because it’s centrally located for Broward County’s large Caribbean population, especially areas like Lauderdale Lakes and Lauderhill, which has a population that’s nearly 20 percent Jamaican. Some residents even call it “Jamaica Hill.” 

The Jerk Festival is this Sunday, Nov. 12, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Markham Park is at 16001 W. State Rd. 84, Sunrise.

This story has been updated.