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NOLA Jerk Chicken Festival is Feb. 11



A new food festival debuts Feb. 11 when the NOLA Jerk Chicken Festival ( takes over the newly opened Central City BBQ (1201 S. Rampart St., 504-558-4276; www.centralcity

  The inaugural festival, from the organizers behind the NOLA Caribbean Festival, celebrates Jamaican cuisine and its signature smoky chicken staple, as well the music and culinary traditions of New Orleans and the Caribbean nation.

  A press release promises a "fantastic stable of national reggae bands and DJs as well as New Orleans' own top brass bands performing Bob Marley hits brass style."

  The festival falls within a week of Marley's birthday. The festival initially was called the Marley Gras Jerk Chicken Fest, but the name was changed after members of Fifty-Six Hope Road Music (a company run by Marley's heirs) sent a cease and desist letter regarding the use of the name.

  The event is expected to feature local restaurants and food trucks serving their renditions of jerk chicken and other Caribbean dishes and drinks.

  For those brave (read: insane) enough to take the challenge, there will be a Scotch bonnet pepper-eating contest. There also will be a jerk chicken competition judged by "local celebrity" judges, according to the release.

  The festival runs from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Feb. 11, and tickets are $10.

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