June 28, 2004 – There was no doubt that Monday night was Miss Lucy's time to shine, as speaker after speaker heaped accolades on her turban-clad head at the July 4th Celebration Village opening.
"Everyone knows Miss Lucy," her granddaughter Vernelle De Lagarde said as people streamed into the Lucy Smith Prince Village.
Smith Prince, known to one and all as "Miss Lucy," claimed fame as a one-woman ambassador for St. John. She spent years welcoming visitors with her trademark hibiscus tucked behind her ear and her taxi adorned with flower-bedecked horns.
"The majority of people always came back," Sen. Almando "Rocky" Liburd pointed out.
The Village opening was a night to meet old friends and make new ones.
"Everybody's here — black, white, charcoal, chartreuse and plaid," retired firefighter Leroy Frett said, noting that much of St. John's varied population turns out for Celebration festivities.
Part-time residents Jeff Keough and his daughter Maxine were taking a walk when they heard the Love City Pan Dragons playing. They stopped by for the opening festivities and said they'd be back later to dance.
St. Croix resident Myron Allick, who spent several years on St. John as manager of Starfish Market, said he was back for some meetings but would bring his family over for a little rest and recreation. "It's the festive time of year," he said.
The opening ceremony was filled with the usual good words by various officials. However, Sen. Roosevelt David got everyone's attention when he noted that the Legislature had appropriated $250,000 for this year's golden jubilee July 4th Celebration.
When it was Liburd's turn to speak, he told Gov. Charles W. Turnbull: "Tell Ira Mills to release the money."
Turnbull said that since St. Thomas's V.I. Carnival and St. Croix's Crucian Christmas Festival got large appropriations for their 50th anniversaries two years ago, he would instruct Mills, the Office of Management and Budget director, to release the St. John money.
The evening had its somber aspects. Turnbull asked everyone to pause for a moment in honor of Pfc. Jason Lynch, who recently died serving his country in Iraq.
Mistress of ceremonies Alecia M. Wells asked for a moment of silence to remember Paula Smith, who for years operated a booth at the Village. She died during the last year.
The evening started out with a posting of the colors by St. John's American Legion Post, the first time the Village opening has included such an event.
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