Jamaican Festival brings island culture to Western Maryland

Festival brings island culture to Western Maryland

Festival brings island culture to Western Maryland

August 21, 2003|by Chris Copley

This weekend's Jamaican Festival is more than simply a sampling of Caribbean food and music. Organizer Alesia Parson says the festival is a chance for area residents to connect with culture.

"A lot of kids in the community, from Hagerstown or abroad, do know someone from the West Indies," she says. "But they might not get to see (the culture) often out here."

Parson and organizers with the Memorial Recreation Center anchored the Jamaican festival with Jamaican music - played by a DJ - and a Jamaican menu: curried chicken, curried goat, red beans and rice, ox tails, jerked chicken and jerked pork. Traditional American festival food, such as hamburgers and hot dogs and fried chicken, will be served.


But Parson says festival organizers aim to meet other needs of the local community. A health fair will have representatives on hand to discuss and hand out information on breast and cervical cancer, diet and nutrition, substance abuse and addiction prevention, mental health services and children's health care.

"The health fair is basically to educate the community on what is available for living successfully," Parson says.

And if you educate the body, she adds, you should also educate the spirit. The festival begins at noon Saturday, Aug. 23, with Praise in the Park, a musical worship service led by religious leaders from several churches.

The theme of community - bringing people together, entertaining them and helping one another - is central to the fourth annual festival, Parson says.

"Everyone has a good time," she says. "It's always a good time and a safe environment."

If you go ...

Jamaican Food and Music Festival

Noon to 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 23

Wheaton Park, Hagerstown.

Free. Menu of Jamaican foods for sale. Proceeds benefit the Memorial Recreation Center.

Call Alesia Parson, 301-824-7584.

Food, music and culture of the Caribbean islands. Also a health fair and praise service.

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