Platinum international reggae star Shaggy was the headliner for the 12th Annual Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival at Roy Wilkins Park in Queens, New York, on July 21.
The Fabulous Five (Fab5) band known for their song “The Jamaica Girl,” along with Sons of Mystro and reggae star Christopher Martin performed as well.
The event, which was also promoted as the “Biggest Caribbean Food Festival in the USA,” included a Food Court, which featured a variety of Jerk-style offerings, Publix Jerk Cook-Off Pavilion, with Jerk cooking demonstrations by renowned chefs; Grace Kitchen featured Chef Mazie Miller. Actor/singer Leon served as celebrity judge for the Grace Jerk Cook-off.
There were two cultural stages, arts & crafts vendors, Corporate Circle featuring sampling and giveaways, Party Pavilion, Travel Village, Kidz Fun Zone, Domino Tournament and netball matches.
No one seemed to mind being outside sweating ‘bullets’ in the uncomfortable heat. It was packed with people representing many nationalities. When Shaggy made his explosive entrance on stage, you knew you were in for a treat. Known for his animated stage presence and his ‘bang-bang-bang’ groin gestures and his megawatt smile, you knew it was time to party.
Shaggy performed some of his most popular chart-topping hits including “Boombastic” and “It Wasn’t Me.” Then he invited Rayvon, a reggae star in his own right on stage as they entertained the crowd. Everyone was waving flags from their respective countries and as they danced and sang every last word with him.