Launching the Memphis Caribbean Jerk Festival: What It Really Means to Me
Alan Kirkpatrick | Contributor
I am not Jamaican.
When I encourage people to attend the 2nd annual Memphis Caribbean Jerk Festival which takes place from noon-10 p.m. on Saturday, June 15 at Tiger Lane (located at 450 Early Maxwell Boulevard) in Memphis, people often think that I must have some Jamaican ancestry or Caribbean roots.
No… I just like jerk food!
If you’ve ever had jerk food, you might remember the first time you ate it. I can distinctly remember the first time I ate jerk chicken. The fiery hot spices rubbed on the moist chicken watered in my mouth and I instantly became a fan of Jamaican cuisine.
My love for this type of food grew into my desire to share it with others in the Memphis and Mid-South area and that is one reason why I decided to create the Memphis Caribbean Jerk Festival so that others could enjoy it.
But, it isn’t just about sharing the common love of jerk food, reggae music, and other facets of the Jamaican culture in one place.
It is also about creating a venue that raises awareness for a debilitating and often, fatal disease, that far too often doesn’t receive the attention it should.
Thousands of African-Americans suffer and die from sickle cell disease each year. And two of its victims were very close friends of mine: Kim Redd was a college friend who encouraged me to take more of a leadership role on campus when I attended East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, Tennessee and Dr. Trevor Thompson, the founder of the Sickle Cell Foundation of Tennessee was also my Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity brother.
Years later after Kim passed away, I had the opportunity to learn more about sickle cell disease from Dr. Thompson. During our conversations, I decided that the best way to honor Kim and others like her, was to bring awareness to others who are affected by this disease by shining a light on the work of the Sickle Cell Foundation of Tennessee.
Unfortunately, Dr. Thompson — who was the heart and soul of the Sickle Cell Foundation of Tennessee — has also died but his legacy to bring awareness to this disease lives on. That’s why a portion of the proceeds from the Memphis Caribbean Jerk Festival will be donated to the Sickle Cell Foundation of Tennessee.
I believe that is the right thing to do.
I am hopeful that the 2nd annual Memphis Caribbean Jerk Festival attracts thousands of attendees on July 15 who not only want to eat great tasting food, dance to good Caribbean music, but who also want to do something positive for someone else. When it comes down to it, that’s what this is really all about. Muhammad Ali once said that service to others is the rent you pay for the room here on Earth and I couldn’t agree more.
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Owner | Home Run Entertainment, LLC
Alan Kirkpatrick is the owner of Home Run Entertainment, LLC. Home Run Entertainment, LLC is one of the regions leading purveyors in event marketing, advertising, and public relations.
About the Memphis Caribbean Jerk Festival and Family Fun Day
Home Run Entertainment, LLC presents the 2nd Annual Memphis Caribbean Jerk Festival and Family Fun Day benefiting the Sickle Cell Foundation of Tennessee on Saturday July 15th for 12pm to 10pm at Tiger Lane located at 450 Early Maxwell Boulevard. There will be a variety of Jerk and Caribbean foods available, live entertainment featuring top local Caribbean musicians, jerk cooking competition,Dominos and Chess tournament and an exotic car show featuring customized cars from brands like Bentley, Mercedes Benz, Lamborghini and more. Plus there will be several other activities for the whole family.
The Memphis Caribbean Jerk Festival is filled with fun and our guest will have an opportunity enter the Sickle Cell Foundation of Tennessee’s raffle to win an amazing prize such as a 4 night stay in Cancun, Mexico (sponsored by Financially Crowned Queen), or a Big Green Egg Grill (sponsored by Ken Rash’s, Inc.), a Fine Area Rug (sponsored by Dan The Carpet Man), a 6.2” Touchscreen DVD, CD/MP3, AM/FM Receiver w/ GPS Navigation & Android PhoneLink Car audio system by SoundStream (sponsored by Xtreme Auto Accessories), 1 of 4 Signature Car Detail Services (sponsored by Detail One) or a round trip ticket on Southwest Airlines.
For more information about the Memphis Caribbean Jerk Festival, go to memphisjerkfest.com or call 901.277.8067. Advance tickets cost $15 and are $20 at the door.