Boston Jerk Celebrations return
A section of the crowd attending a previous staging of Boston Jerk Festival in Portland.

AFTER a two-year absence due to COVID-19, the Boston Jerk Celebrations — formerly Boston Jerk Festival — is scheduled for the jerk centre at Boston Beach in Portland from July 9-10, 2022.

Colin Bell, managing director of organisers BrightLight Productions Company Limited, said the festival was rebranded Boston Jerk Celebrations in 2016 as jerk festivals were popping up worldwide and they decided to have something different.

“This is the home of jerk, so we decided this will be ‘Celebrations of the world’s hottest cuisine’. The festival this year will be called ‘Boston TrangBack Jerk Celebrations’ as TrangBack is our main sponsor,” Bell told the Jamaica Observer.

“We will be going right across the globe in marketing of the festival. In 2019, we had over a 1,000 foreigners at the festival based on our survey. We are expecting a bumper crowd and we have on the line-up George Nooks, Agent Sasco, Laa Lee, and Fab 5. There will be a gospel section as well as rides and attractions for the children... Everything you eat will be jerked that day from vegetable to pasta. Come and experience the world’s hottest cuisine at the world’s number one gastronomy for jerk – Boston, Portland. The show itself will be at Boston Beach but the entire area will be transformed. It will be a community event so all these areas will be filled with vendors. Vendors, shop operators and bars will not be asked to make a contribution, as this is covered by the title sponsor,” he said.

Jerk vendor Garth Neufville displays jerk chicken and fish. (Photos: Everard Owen)

Bell said that on Saturday, the event is slated to start at 10:00 am and ends at 6:00 pm, while on Sunday it is scheduled to begin at 10:00 am and conclude at 8:00 pm.

“On Saturday, July 9, the new event is called ‘World Food and Culture Fest’ and embassies from around the world are invited in to cook some of their native food and 10 minutes cultural presentation from their country. It give persons an opportunity to taste food from across that world,” Bell added. “Sunday is the main day and concert.”

Hawthorne Thompson, managing director of title sponsor TrangBack Tonic Wine, is delighted to be part of Boston Jerk Celebrations.

“It is a pleasure and we do, as a company, believe in Boston, believe in the jerk. Boston has the number one jerk on the island. We are looking forward for the partnership to work in the interest of every bar, shops community so that it can be able to benefit each and every one of us. There is no doubt that this year celebration will be one with great meaning. As we celebrate as a nation our 60th year, we are proud to be in celebration with you and the community as TrangBack is the number one tonic wine on the island made of natural herbs and spices,” he said.

(From left) Colin Bell, managing director of BrightLight Production, the organisers of Boston Jerk Celebrations; Nikay Brown, marketing and communications manager, TrangBack Tonic Wine; and, Hawthorne Thompson, managing director TrangBack Tonic Wine at the launch of the celebrations in Portland recently. (Photos: Everard Owens)

Jerk vendor Garth Neufville is happy for the return of the festival.

“It is such a great pleasure to have this festival return; I missed it so much. It was such a rough time during the pandemic as 90 per cent of the time we have to get rid of the food as there is no one to come and purchase. It has been changing since the restrictions have been lifted and we are going to have the festival — that is good. We will have a wide variety of jerk fish, lobster, reindeer — you name it, all will be here,” Neufville said.

Everard Owen

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