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Reggae Brings Life To Wilmington

With reggae musicians jamming in the background, Jodian Samuels, of Jamaica, served up dishes that included curried goat, ox tail and jerk chicken. Samuels was visiting the area for the annual People’s Festival: A Tribute to Bob Marley and working at a food stand run by Paradise Palms, a restaurant on King Street in Wilmington. It’s great to educate the community about Jamaica, she said. “It’s lovely,” Samuels said. “It’s really lovely to share our culture with others.” The festival is now in its 18th year. Wilmington was the first American home for Bob Marley. The event to honor him features music, vendors and food stands, and organizers expect to attract 5,000 to 7,000 visitors to Tubman-Garrett Riverfront Park this weekend.

“Bob Marley is a reggae icon,” said Billy Johnson, who is a regular attendee of the event.

Marley lived in Wilmington in the 1960s and 1970s. He worked at the DuPont Co. in Wilmington and the Chrysler assembly plant in Newark, event organizers say. His 1976 song “Night Shift” is said to have been inspired by working at Chrysler.

The festival began about noon Saturday with a drum circle open to all musicians. Two other stages featured musical acts including I Wayne, Sister Carol and Chuck Fenda, plus live DJs. One act, Biggz General with Judah Tribe and Dax Lion, featured one of Marley’s grandsons.

The event also featured healing massage, specialty items including handmade jewelry and clothing in the Jamaican national colors. To cope with the heat, many attendees created shady areas with tents and beach umbrellas.

A children’s area offered face painting and storytelling. Annetrea and Alex Wilkins of Wilmington, the volunteers running the area, said they try to pick stories that have a message of unity.

“We like to be able to teach them,” Annetrea Wilkins said.

By midafternoon, a popular spot for children was a large misting area under an A-frame made of bamboo.

Jason Rodriguez, of Wilmington, took video of his children Nadir, 9, and Taijay, 18 months, as they held hands and and ran through the cooling water.

“Today is about unity and coming together,” Rodriguez said. “Peacefully.”

SOURCE: delaware online

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