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Patrons checking out the various stalls @ the 14th Annual Grace Jamaican Jerk Fest in Markham Park

Patrons checking out the various stalls @ the 14th Annual Grace Jamaican Jerk Fest in Markham Park.

 AJ Brown—

PROMOTERS of the annual Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival — held at Markham Park, Sunrise in Florida on Sunday — delivered on their promise of a diverse entertainment offering.

There was something for everyone on the various stages throughout the venue: the Fusion Sound Stage; the Western Union Cultural Stage; the Hot Zone; and, of course, the main performance stage.

Sheldon Shepherd, actor and member of No-Maddz, read from his recently released book titled In the Morning Yah. He received a good reception from the audience.

The Fusion Sound Stage — located towards the back of the park — saw up-and-coming acts, including singer Mackeehan, reggae band Army Gideon, Shanna Lee, 86 band, and Sekajipo, a Liberian acoustic guitar hip hop artist.

“The vibe was overall a good one and the feedback is awesome. It’s nothing like I have ever experienced,” said Mackeehan.

Christopher Martin thrilling the crowd, especially the ladies.

Christopher Martin thrilling the crowd, especially the ladies.

On the main stage singer Christopher Martin delivered a stirring set. His female fans screamed when he removed his shirt. However, it was hit songs, including Cheaters Prayer, Take My Love, Mi Fren Dem, Big Deal, and Chill Spot,which raised his performance up a notch.

“It was a wonderful event. It’s always nice to see people from different parts of the Jamaican Diaspora coming out to enjoy good clean reggae music. I gave them good music, they gave me love and I am delighted,” said Martin.

Third World, with new lead singer AJ Brown in tow, reeled out the hits, including Now that We Found Love and Forbidden Love.

German reggae artist Gentleman, who performed songs from his repertoire including, Superior, Intoxication and the collaborative effort To the Top, featuring Martin, won new fans at the event.

Gentleman in action.

Gentleman in action.

“Jamaican people are very honest people and very real. If you get the love, it’s very intense and that’s what I felt tonight,” Gentleman told Splash.

Veteran singer Barrington Levy worked a good set, delivering different interpretations of some of his well-known hits. He offered stripped down versions of Here I Come, Too Experienced, Living Dangerously and Prison Oval Rock, among others.

The Publix Cook-Off segment featured a diverse line-up. The Celebrity Cook-off featured 2014 Ms Universe Jamaica Kaci Fennell and 2008 Ms Jamaica World Brittany Lyons. Fennell emerged winner. Fennell was esctatic about her win.

“It was stiff competition, but I just did my thing. I was having a little meltdown inside, but I regained my composure, and I did it,” said Fennell.

Fennell prepared a vegetable stir fry medley, a sauce using Grace Tomato Ketchup, and a jerk steak.

Eddy Edwards

Eddy Edwards

Eddy Edwards of Jamaica Jerk Festival Inc USA, promoter of the event, was pleased with the day’s turnout of events.

“We promised folks a better experience this year, and based on all indications everyone had a good time” said Edwards.

“Every year we try to improve on the areas that are weak and make the product better. For us, the highlight this year was the battle of the beauties. Kaci Fennell and Brittany Lyons traded their crowns for aprons and, to me, that was something special,” Edwards added.

— By Kevin Jackson

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