PRESS RELEASE / June 6, 2023 (Boston, MA) – Eat, Drink and Be “Irie” at the city’s hottest festival of the summer, the 10th Boston JerkFest held at the Harvard Athletic Complex near Harvard Square, 145 North Harvard Street, Allston, July 7-8, 2023. “We are thrilled to be back at the Harvard Athletic Complex and having LUCIANO the Messenjah at our much anticipated and treasured community event” said Nicola Williams, festival Producer. “Especially after the success of last year and being awarded the 2022 Best Boston Food Festival by Boston Magazine.” This outdoor family-friendly, Caribbean-style food festival features local Jamaican jerk spiced food, an array of beverages, craft vendors and performances. The festival kicks off with a Rum & Brew Tasting on Friday July 7, 2022, 5:30 – 8:30 PM (5pm for VIP). The festivities get spicier with the Boston JerkFest Food Festival Saturday, July 8, 2022, 11 AM – 8 PM. 

Jerk is the specialty cuisine of Jamaica that is not only mouth-burning hot, but also includes delicious blends of aromatic spices to wake up all your senses. Key ingredients include Jamaican Scotch Bonnet peppers, thyme, and allspice. Jerk dishes are typically served with bright tropical flavors such as pineapple, mango, and sweet onions to balance out the heat. Billed as a Caribbean foodie festival celebrating all things hot, Boston JerkFest will feature the best local Caribbean Chefs cooking up authentic Caribbean, jerk style meals, international and local spicy foods, spicy specialty foods, and homemade Caribbean drinks for sale.

Rum & Brew Tasting at Boston JerkFest, Friday, July 7, 2022, 5-8:30 PM

 The Rum & Brew Tasting will be held on Friday night for 21+ year old festival attendees. The evening will feature live music and unlimited tastings of craft beer, hard cider, wine, artisan beverages and a variety of Caribbean themed libations. The Rum & Brew Tasting will include Cocktail Demos and a Caribbean Cocktail Throwdown, featuring Boston’s hottest Mixologists stirring up the best “Irie” drinks made from products featured at the Rum & Brew Tasting.  A panel of judges, including festival attendees will vote for their favorite drink and help select the winner, who will own bragging rights for the 2023 Boston’s Best Caribbean Cocktail.

 Boston JerkFest Saturday, July 8, 2023, 11:00 AM-8 PM

On Saturday, the spicy fest continues as top local and regional favorite Caribbean restaurants and caterers will cook up jerk-inspired creations for sale to eager fans. The festival offers authentic Caribbean, international, and local spicy food for sale, including spicy meals and Caribbean desserts, and drinks. Festival attendees will get a chance to taste and judge as alongside a Boston-based panel of foodies for our Seafood Throwdown and Jerk Cook-off. We are proud to feature headliner LUCIANO the Messenjah, a two-time Grammy nominee and known as “King of Conscious Reggae Music” and is now one of the most iconic figures representing roots reggae today. He wishes to spread the message of love and light, lifting the spirits of all his listeners. We are enthralled to have LUCIANO perform at the 10th Boston JerkFest. 

The festival is a family-friendly event and features a Kids & Culture zone with children’s activities including face painting, on-site steel drum classes, and other activities to enjoy. The music stage will feature live bands jamming to the tunes of reggae, soca, steel drums, world music, and more jamming to live music to get your “Irie” vibe on. The Reggae Lounge on both days is the adult hang-out spot, with games such as dominos, cocktail demos, and lots of adult fun. The Reggae Bar on Saturday will include beer, wine, and rum punch for sale.

Dive In – Keep it Local at Boston JerkFest!

This year’s festival will include a “Dive In” marketing campaign to promote local seafood that is abundantly available and underutilized. The campaign was launched in 2018 featuring Cape Shark (dog fish) and Skate was featured in 2022, and was made possible by a grant from the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game. Boston JerkFest food festival will feature Jerk-style Chef Demos, such as a Seafood Throwdown and Jerk Cook-off in collaboration with Northwest American Marine Alliance (NAMA), Red’s Best, and World Farmers. In the Seafood Throwdown, two chefs will battle it out to see who can concoct the best dish with a local-day boat seafood ingredient, jerk spice, and with produce grown in Massachusetts by immigrant farmers of World Farmers, Inc. and other urban farmers.

Festival attendees will get a chance to taste and judge alongside a panel of Boston-based foodies. The Chef demos at Boston JerkFest are fun, educational and community driven activities that promote the traditional flavors of Caribbean cuisine using local food. 

Boston JerkFest is produced by The Williams Agency, and supported by Harvard University and sponsored by: Black Economic Council of Massachusetts, Meet Boston, Massachusetts Department of Fisheries, North American Marine Alliance, Sustainable Food and Culture, Boston Cultural Council, Massachusetts Cultural Council, Mount Gay Rum, Red’s Best, The Word Boston, Cambridge Office for Tourism, Tropical Foods, Rupee Beer, World Farmers, and SparksFM

A portion of the proceeds of this event supports Sustainable Food and Culture, a 501-c-3 organization supporting cultural initiatives in Massachusetts and beyond. Advance tickets for Boston JerkFest are free for children under age 10. Early bird tickets General Admission tickets are $30.00 for Adults and $5.00 for children ages 10-14. Rum & Brew Tasting is for 21+ year old attendees and advance tickets are $40.00 for General Admission. VIP tickets are 2-day passes and are $100.00. Advance sale 2-Day Festival Passes are $65.00 for General Admission. Connect on social media @bostonjerkfest for Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. 

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