Not just a winter destination, Jamaica offers plenty for summer visitors

Most Canadians think of Jamaica as a winter destination; however many travellers would be surprised by the number of entertaining festivals and events held on the island throughout the summer months. In addition, the summer offers great low season accommodation rates for visitors to take advantage of, sometimes reduced by as much as 50%.

"Jamaica has a yearlong calendar of events, with some of our best festivals and events held during the summer months," said Jamaica's Director of Tourism, John Lynch. "These events include world class food and music festivals. We offer so much more than just sun, sand and sea ... and our summer festivals give Canadians the chance to escape the hustle and bustle of home, all while enjoying Jamaica's culture and flavour."

The following is a list of 2014 summer festivals and events in Jamaica:

·     Style Week Jamaica (Kingston, May 21 - 25): Saint International's Style Week returns this month in Kingston. The high fashion event culminates with the mounting of the Caribbean's longest runway in New Kingston.  

· Jamaica Epicurean Escape (St. Ann, May 23 - 25): This food festival showcases mouthwatering cuisine, Jamaican and international celebrity chefs, fine wines and exciting entertainment.  

· Calabash Literary Festival 2014 (St. Elizabeth, May 30 - June 1): Calabash Literary Festival, the only festival of its kind in the English-speaking Caribbean, is just weeks away. Dubbed "Globalishus", this year's staging of the iconic event will feature literary luminaries.

· Ocho Rios Jazz Festival (Montego Bay, June 8 - 14): International performers play alongside acclaimed Jamaican jazz artists.

· Caribbean Fashion Week (Kingston, June 11 - 16): The Caribbean's top fashion and style event is held each year in Kingston as renowned designers and emerging talent showcase their collections.

· Kingston on the Edge Urban Art Festival (Kingston, June 20 - 29): This festival is a weeklong celebration of art and the artists who live and work in and/or are inspired by the city of Kingston. The week features all genres from painting, sculpture and dance to music and art installations.

· International Reggae Day (Island-wide, July 1): On July 1, visitors can celebrate all things reggae on the island where the genre was born.

· All Jamaica Grill Off (Kingston, July 6): The annual All Jamaica Grill Off competition takes place in Kingston. A much-anticipated food festival, the All Jamaica Grill Off attracts the destination's best recreational and professional grilling chefs. This event is a must-do for foodies to enjoy an unlimited sampling from competitors' booths along with all-day music and stage entertainment.

· Portland Jerk Festival (Portland, July 6): Portland is the home of jerk, and its Portland Jerk Festival includes all things jerk. Participants are treated to a feast of jerked lobster, fish, chicken and pork. Activities include performances from local artists and community dance groups, arts and craft displays, a merry-go-round and face painting.

· Little Ochie Seafood Carnival (Manchester, July 11 - 13): The Little Ochie Seafood Carnival is a celebration of the wide array of culinary delights available on the south side of the island. Little Ochie is nestled on the rugged beachfront of a quaint South Coast fishing village called Alligator Pond. Top local reggae musicians and vintage artists are featured along with the cuisine and a non-stop party.  

· Reggae Sumfest (Montego Bay, July 13 - 19): This annual reggae festival showcases the best talent in roots, rock and reggae music from Jamaican and international performers. It's the greatest reggae show on earth!

· Makka Pro Surfing Tournament (St. Thomas, July 18 - 20): The Jamaica Surfing Association will host the island's annual international pro surfing contest. The event will take place at Makka Surfing Beach in Southaven, Yallahs, St. Thomas, and is the largest surfing competition in the English-speaking Caribbean.

· Mobay Jerk Festival (Montego Bay, August 1): This food festival is an excellent opportunity for Jamaicans and visitors to enjoy jerk cuisine in the second city. The event will be held at the Catherine Hall Entertainment Complex and feature live entertainment.

· Smirnoff Dream Weekend (Negril, August 1 - 6): Dream Weekend takes over Negril with major parties featuring an impressive line-up of DJs, artists and celebrities.

For more information on events in Jamaica or to book a vacation, go to or speak to your local travel specialist.

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