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Cocoa Tea to headline the first annual Chicago Jerk Festival!

The New 411

By Raymond Ward, Chicago Crusader

The South Side is gearing up to welcome thousands of patrons to experience the sights, sounds and spicy aromas of the first-ever Chicago Jerk Festival, starring Caribbean music sensations Cocoa Tea, Kiprich, Jah Vinci, D’Angel, Stacious, Papa Michigan, Indika Band and more.

The daylong extravaganza will feature exotic Caribbean and American food — most grilled to perfection — live music, authentic Caribbean influenced arts and crafts souvenirs and a Kids’ Zone play area offering lots of activities for kids of all ages.  Other highlights that cannot be missed will include “The Corn Man,” nationally-famous for his popular roasted corn; and “The Coconut Man,” known for his exotic coconut food and beverage variations.

The Chicago Jerk Festival takes over Washington Park starting 11 a.m. on Sunday, June 24. Jamaican4life, a not-for-profit that raises funds for improving the health care sector in Jamaica, will be associated with the festival.

The jerk festival concept, which highlights Caribbean food and entertainment, has become a national phenomenon. Various organizers are hosting jerk festivals annually in major cities like New York, Fort Lauderdale, Washington D.C. and Dallas.  The idea for the Chicago Jerk Festival stemmed from organizers at Jabari C.G. Productions, who originated the Philadelphia Jerk Festival six years ago.

“Our decision to expand the jerk festival concept into the Chicago market was based on the city’s lively personality and respect for everything colorful and Caribbean,” according to Denise Dixon, spokesperson for the event. “We also recognize that there is a large population of Caribbean natives in Chi-Town in addition to home grown individuals who really enjoy great food and the best music on the planet — all will appreciate an event of this flavor and magnitude.”

“We are looking forward to bringing the magic of the jerk festival to Washington Park and especially supporting Jamaican4Life,” adds Clinton Garibaldi, chief executive officer, Jabari C.G. Productions.

More information on the upcoming jerk festival, including tickets and details on how to participate as a vendor, is available at

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