Dec. 14, 2002 – Main Street, the commercial heart of St. Thomas for the island's people for donkey years, enjoyed a huge commercial as well as social success Friday night at the 11th annual Miracle on Main Street Christmas shopping and celebrating extravaganza.
Thousands of Virgin Islanders of all ages filled the streets, alleys and shops from the Fort Christian Museum to Rothschild Francis "Market" Square in a scene reminiscent of the recent 50th anniversary of V.I. Carnival.
Music and laughter, festive lights, meeting and greeting mingled with the sounds of cash registers a-jingle. In some places, shoppers' enthusiasm for getting holiday gifts at bargain prices was so great that merchants kept their doors open long after the last band stopped playing and cars streamed away from downtown Charlotte Amalie.
"When I looked out there a moment ago, I was taken aback," said Easlyn Smith, owner of the Ooh La La Boutique on Raadets Gade, as she rang up another sale. Up the street at the corner of Raadets and Main, the P'your Passion band kept a crowd locked in place with dance tunes while moko jumbies dressed in club gear jammed high above the fray. Inside Smith's shop, customers who could tear themselves away from the street scene popped in and out of the dressing rooms, pressing outfits against their bodies, stealing glances into mirrors.
The daytime foot traffic along Main Street is mainly cruise ship passengers on the hunt for duty-free treasures to take home. But for some of the shops, Miracle on Main Street is the biggest night of the year. At A H Riise Stores, it was hard to get through the door and even harder to squeeze up to the counters selling perfume and cologne.
Sales clerk Brian Lee labored over a calculator at the store's watch counter, eyeing the bustle around him. "For the section that I'm in," he said, "it's not much. But for the perfume department it's the biggest night of the year." But he allowed that even in watches, sales were better than expected.
Down the street at the Tropicana Perfumerie shop, Tinequa Antoine waited attentively near her gift-wrap station, ready to serve customers. Still dressed in her Charlotte Amalie High School uniform, she smiled when a customer approached with three boxed gift sets, asking to have them wrapped so she could take them along on a holiday trip to the States.
Gold fever abounded, too, keeping the doors of the Gold Corner open and its counters surrounded by shoppers well past the official 9 p.m. end for Miracle on Main.
At Valentine's Jewel Box, Madhu Chuzani slid back and forth behind four feet of glass display cases, helping three customers at once. "Valentine's is popular with local shoppers anyway," she said, "but this gives them a chance to shop at night as well as in the day."
Outside, friends and families wound their way among one another, enjoying the music of the steelpan groups and other bands set up along Main Street, many hands full of shopping bags and small children. Police Special Operations Bureau officers wove their way quietly through the crowd, keeping watch over the festivities.
Beside the towering Christmas tree at the Alvaro de Lugo Post Office across from Emancipation Garden, Cassandra Farmer leaned against a wrought-iron railing, plotting her strategy to take on the perfume and lingerie shops. A recent transplant from North Carolina, Farmer said she couldn't help but notice, 'tis the season.
"It's my first one" in the Virgin Islands, she said. "I would have to say it's the true spirit of Christmas on island. I mean it's shopping and commercial, but people are really into it. They're smiling and greeting each other and having a good time. They're really into it."
In Emancipation Garden, shoppers took a load off their feet and settled onto park benches to enjoy a continuous live performance by musical groups at the David Monsanto Bandstand. The garden was the setting for the Committee to Revive Our Culture Christmas Crafts Fair.
Dollmaker Gwendolyn Harley and husband Ewart are perennials at the fair. After a day of selling her handmade market ladies and specialty dolls posed in cultural settings, the couple kept each other's company enjoying the music and a sip of guavaberry.
"The lady who was braiding the child's hair, I sold that today," she said, describing her dolls. "And the lady at the ironing board, some market ladies and about four bag ladies, and some mango-seed dolls."
Across from the park at Fort Christian, waist-high speakers pumped out quelbe tunes by Stanley and the Ten Sleepless Knights while mothers and kids from the V.I. Fire Service Junior Firefighters Club served up dinners of fried fish and johnnycakes. Over the speakers the singer put his spin on the Twelve Days of Christmas:
"On the tenth day of Christmas, my woman give to me … Ten Sleepless Knights…"
Even old Fort Christian wore a festive coat of red lights that glowed in the night.

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