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Orlando Jerk Fest a hit

Observer reporter

Saturday, October 21, 2017

IT was all about the sumptuous dishes, Caribbean-inspired fashion, and live entertainment at last Sunday's staging of the Orlando Jerk and Caribbean Culture Festival.

The event attracted a full house of all ages to the Florida Fairgrounds on West Colonial Drive in Orlando. By 5:00 pm most, if not all the patrons had already sampled a wide variety of dishes including jerk chicken, pork, fish, oxtail among other delectable Caribbean offerings.

Throughout the day, excited children pranced about, hopping in and out of rides and partaking in other kid-friendly activities.

The setting of the sun came with the start of the highly anticipated stage show, and mains acts like Romain Virgo and Cham didn't disappoint.

As Romain Virgo's voice emerged over the microphone, the ladies huddled closer to the stage. The screams were close to deafening and all the singer needed to do was to start each song for the patrons to get into a singalong. His personal mantra of performing each show like his last was clear as he seemed to put his all into each track. The first 15 minutes of his set saw songs like Can't Sleep, No Money and Who Feels It Knows It. He then diverted into a string of love songs, much to the delight of his female fans present.

Virgo had them clinging to his every word as he belted out lyrics to songs like Rain Is Falling, Way Too Beautiful, I Believe In Love, Fade Away, Taking You Home, Love Doctor and Night Nurse. He later took the audience down memory lane with songs including a cover or Percy Sledge's When A Man Loves A Woman. The audience couldn't get enough and even 'demanded' an encore after which Virgo gave a soulful rendition of Adele's When Will I See You Again.

Richie Spice and veteran reggae singer Freddie McGregor also delivered spectacular sets.

Dancehall artiste Cham (formerly Baby Cham) brought the curtains down with an electrifying set. The deejay's interactive performance included crowd favourites Vitamin S, Galang Yah Gal, Babylon Bwoy, Drop It, Which Gyal, Hero and Ghetto Story.

Earlier in the entertainment package, the opening acts didn't disappoint and among the stand outs was reggae singjay Andi-Ites. The entertainer commanded his audience's attention through his comedic but conscious set. Included in his 20-minute were songs like Jah Leads The Way, Clear and Obvious, and Watch Out.

The event also featured a jerk cook-off which saw Cliff Restaurant walking away with their top dish of conch salad.

The Jamaica Observer caught up with the festival's publicist Keisha Freeman who said the event lived up to expectations.

“'Orlando Jerk Fest' was a success and we want to thank our patrons, sponsors and the entire team who made this happen. The event was another incident-free one that kept patrons of all ages entertained,” Freeman said.