This year’s Clermont Caribbean Jerk Festival, sponsored by the Caribbean Amerian Association of Lake County, is an important event. Due to heavy rains last year, attendance was way down, which meant the annual fund raiser for schollarships didn’t receive as many donations as usual.
“The skies opened, and they didn’t close for a very long time,” recalls Stuart Wilson, a retired Colonel in the U.S. Air Force who, as a community activist and local photographer, loves his adopted hometown of Clermont. “While we needed those rains back then, they also put a damper on the community events, which hurt attendance, which hurt fund-raising efforts.”
The popular annual Clermont food and music festival has brought the Caribbean to Central Florida for the past seven years. This year’s festival features the music of FAB 5, the most popular band in the Caribbean, along with the popular Guyanese star Terry Gajraj, and a Jamaican-born favorite Tory Wynter. There will also be activities for children, and plenty of Caribbean food and beverages for kids and adults.
“That is what makes this year’s Jerk Festival so important for us,” he said, referring to the eighth annual festival at Clermont’s Waterfront Park this Saturday, noon-10pm. “We are hoping for bright, clear skies this year, so our community can come together again to not only help support our local kids, helping them to continue their education, but also to have a truly fund time with some fantastic Caribbean food and entertainment.”
“It will definitely be a fun day and night,” says Mitchell Hill, the festival’s new chairman on behalf of CAALC. “We are looking forward to presenting a taste of the Caribbean to all our fellow Central Florida residents. Hopefully, we will be blessed with good weather this year, so we can, more importantly, raise scholarship dollars for the kids of our community.”