Photo Credit: TN
Get Ready: Jollof Fest Is Coming To A City Near You This Summer
The headline is not meant to be fighting words. But a call for a celebration because Jollof Fest is coming to a city near you. It’s a day fest where you can stuff your face with the world-famous dish hailing from West Africa.
“Jollof rice is a one-pot rice dish native to many countries in West Africa,” a statement reads on the website. “Some consider it the predecessor to the Cajun dish Jambalaya.”
Even though we did say that Jollof Fest isn’t meant to be fighting words, those representing Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal, and Sierra Leone will have to bring their A-Game. There can only be one winner, according to organizers.
“I got tired of the sort of war of words around who made the best Jollof rice,” fest founder Ishmael Osekre tells Travel Noire. “I thought why don’t we just settle this thing? Why don’t we bring everyone together in a very neutral atmosphere for a blind tasting to settle the debate.”
The inaugural event was held in Washington, D.C. back in 2017 but Osekere says the next thing he remembers is people from all over reaching out.
“People from Atlanta and Oakland reached out because everyone wanted to settle the debate in their backyard,” says Osekre.
Fest participants have a big responsibility because it’s up to attendees to determine the winner of the Jollof Wars. Now there is a catch. You won’t know where the Jollof originates from – unless you pay close attention to the rice… right, Ghana?
You will be tasting the Jollof blind, so the pressure is on, particularly for Nigeria. According to the tally, Nigeria appears to be up since the first recorded Jollof Fest in 2017.
The Nigerian delegation has asked us to update the leaderboard. They asked us to "Speak the truth and shame the devil" so here we go … Naija no dey caryy last.#Ghanaians and #Liberians will not go to bed today … take heart y'all … #jolloffestivallosangeles is moved to the pic.twitter.com/6ZtsAxPArH— Jollof Festival (@jolloffest) October 27, 2021
What To Expect At Jollof City Tour 2022
Starting this June, Jollof Fest will be in Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles in June. The fest heads to Oakland and Atlanta in July.
August is the busiest month as the fest will head to Minneapolis, Chicago, and North Carolina. The fest ends in Houston this September.
“A lot of people don’t know this but we don’t have a lot of intracontinental travel like here in the states,” says Osekre. For West Africans, the only time we get to engage with each other is during the African Cup of Nations with soccer […]
He adds, “Joloff Fest has really become an icebreaker. A lot of us are getting to try Nigerian, Liberian, and Sengalese food for the first time. Jollof Fet is about food on the surface but also about discovering the commonalities and differences in our cultures.”
New for 2022 are panels ahead of the fest activities in most of the cities. Oskere says the goal is to engage with the communities his team is to highlight businesses, entrepreneurs, and influencers impacting the communities in participating cities.
His team says they will also be testing post-festival shows in select cities. Gyptian is confirmed for the Chicago concert at the Promontory on Aug. 20. Additional Afrobeats artists are expected to be announced later.
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