The V.I. government’s official millennium celebrations kicked off in Frederiksted Friday afternoon with a little help from hundreds of cruise ship passengers.
Gov. Charles Turnbull and a host of government officials, including Lt. Gov. Gerard Luz James II and Delegate to Congress Donna Christian Christensen, presided over the Millennium Youth Steel Orchestra, mocko jumbie dancers and dozens of colorfully clad quadrille dancers.
Turnout for the Frederiksted millennium events, which are to move to St. Croix’s east end and continue until the sun rises over Point Udall early Saturday morning, was a mixture of locals and some of the approximately 1,500 passengers from the Norwegian Dream cruise ship that was in port.
The millennium bash in Frederiksted also included Lee Anduze and the Music in Motion Dancers, the Conch Shell Orchestra, a performance of the Electric Slide dance that organizers are trying to qualify for the Guinness Book of World Records and, finally, the lowering of the V.I. and United States flags at sunset.
The party will then be moved east to Point Udall where more presentations will be made, the old year ushered out, the new millennium celebrated and the first sun rise greeted. The whole government millennium celebration cost approximately $125,000 and was funded by the government and private donors.
"The Millennium Committee has been working for five months," Turnbull said. "We didn’t ask the Legislature for an appropriation because we know there is no money. We scraped a little together here and there."
Entrance to the celebrations at Point Udall, however, will be limited, said Ohanio Harris, chairman of the Millennium Committee. He said about 800 people can safely assemble at the point. Because of that only a certain amount of tickets were distributed to the general public. At that, people with tickets will have to be taken to the point by a shuttle leaving from Cramers Park.
Harris said a headline in the St. Croix Avis newspaper was "misleading" in that it said the public would be barred from festivities at the point. He said tickets, which admit two people, were given to radio stations for distribution, non-profit groups and public housing tenant councils.
"Tickets have been given out all over the islands," Harris said. "We gave out 400 tickets. We have no control or knowledge about who will show."
Meanwhile, Turnbull told the crowd assembled in Frederiksted to not only look back on the past year, century and millennium, but also to look forward.
"Let’s look into the sunrise of tomorrow rather than the sunset of today," he said.


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