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Chicago Jerk Festival offers mix of Jamaican and Caribbean foods and music


The organizers behind the Chicago Jerk Festival say the popular event is coming back for another round.

Presented by Jabari CG Productions and Africa International House, the second annual event is expected to bring a mix of exotic Jamaican and Caribbean foods and music to the city. It takes place from 11 a.m.—10 p.m. on Sunday, June 23 at Washington Park.

“Normally when there’s success, you always want to bring it back, and it’s an annual event too,” said Clinton Garibaldi, chief executive officer for Jabari CG Productions.

Last year, the Chicago Jerk Festival brought in 6,200 people.

Garibaldi said he hopes to have a good turnout this time around, as well.

Organizers stress that the festival is family-friendly; there will be arts and crafts as well as a kid zone.

Garbaldi said most of the vendors will have jerk food on the menu.

“I know most of it’s going to have jerk chicken, pork, lobster, shrimp [and] fish,” he said.

Garibaldi there will also be many other items available for purchase.

Despite popular misconceptions of jerk food, Garibaldi said it’s not always spicy; it can be mild.

The music at the festival will feature a variety of sounds for people to enjoy.

Among musical acts scheduled to perform live are Aidonia, Destra, Errol Dunkley, Cobra and Stone Bwoy.

“It’s a cultural event,” Garibaldi said. “When we choose an artist, it’s for the diversity. … It’s a good look.”

Organizers started planning the festival in January.

“We’re working harder on it to make sure we can bring the community together,” Garibaldi said.

The cost of general admission is $20 per person. VIP tickets, $75, grant attendee access to the front of stage and food in the VIP section.

If you go…

What: Chicago Jerk Festival

Where: Washington Park

When: From 11 a.m.—10 p.m. Sunday, June 23

Other: chicagojerkfest.eventbrite.com