By Naeisha Rose
With summer in full swing, the 21st Jamaica Arts & Music Summer Festival launches this weekend.
The first leg of the festivities will kick off at Rufus King Park from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday. The event will run Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and stretch from 170th Street to Parsons Boulevard on Jamaica Avenue.
There will be music from around the world at the event, step dancing, rock climbing and a 45-foot truck from Affinity Health, which will provide video and virtual reality games for the kids.
Performers at the event include the Craig Crawford Players, Barbara King, Smile, the John Smith quartet, The Nubian Gents and Feminine Fire, J. Nicole, Krystal and the Veronica Day Band. Also providing music are Rahmi Khan, Eli Brooklyn, the Hip-Hop Theory Dance Group, Calypso Rose, Esa Prieta Pacheco y Casanova, The J Note Band, Richi Olivera, The Dale Toliver Band, Qui The Last Word, Mik S Legendary Cypher and Born Free Music Group.
Video and music producer Craig Crawford is the emcee for the event.
JAMS will feature ethnic food trucks, multi-cultural vendors, and urban artisans. There will be kids’ rides, material on community resources as well as health and wellness products and brochures. In all, 450 businesses will participate, according to Tyra Emerson, the executive director of the Cultural Collaborative Jamaica.
“The purpose of JAMS was to highlight Jamaica and the different small businesses in the area,” Emerson said.
When it comes to treats, the 100,000 guests who are projected to attend can expect Caribbean food, Southern-style cuisines, smoothies and vegetarian options.
One of the food vendors, Emily’s Home-style Catering, is owned by Emily Evans.
“I make Caribbean food like jerk chicken, jerk pork, curry chicken, oxtail, and mac & cheese,” Evans said.
For Evans, who has been running her Emily’s Home-style for five years, JAMS is a great way to promote her catering business.
“I do everything from my house,” Evans said. “This allows me to meet other people and potentially find someone in need of catering.”
Jamaican-American vendor Linneth Hall will be giving out samples of her tea and supplements from her company, Tea of Life Health Inc.
“Different people want natural products and we want to offer them some alternatives for better health,” said Hall, who is a nurse practitioner.
This is Hall’s fourth time at JAMS promoting her 10-year-old company. She will be giving out 300 samples of her patented tea made with American Wormseed as well as her Guinea Hen Weed capsules. The Jamaican native will also offer free health consultations at the event.
Helping to relieve stress at the event is independent massage therapist Kiki White.
“A massage can improve circulation and help your body’s organs function better,” White said. “The physiological impact of touch can increase serotonin, your happy hormones.”
White, who operates from her home, can do deep tissue, Swedish and chair massages.
“The whole purpose of the event is to shine a positive light on Jamaica, do something fun the community can enjoy and hopefully get some foot traffic from tourists from JFK because Queens is the first place they will arrive when they come to New York,” Emerson said.
Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by e-mail at nrose