Chicago Jerk Festival Offers Mix of Jamaican and Caribbean Foods and Music

Organizers behind the Chicago Jerk Festival say this 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 attracted 6,200 attendees.

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.

Garibaldi said most of the vendors will have jerk food on their menus.

“I know most [venders are] going to have jerk chicken, pork, lobster, shrimp [and] fish,” he said.

Garibaldi said 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 the 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 $25 per person. VIP tickets, $75, grant attendees access to the front of the 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


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