Nov. 28, 2004 It's beginning to look, and sound, a lot like Christmas Crucian Christmas Festival, that is. Hundreds of revelers packed the streets of Frederiksted Saturday evening to officially kick off the St. Croix festival season with a traditional tramp. The participants were largely energetic teenagers and young adults, and the music was provided by the Heartbreaker band.
The tramp, whose essential ingredients are a lively band and a horde of dancers, began at the Frederiksted Post Office corner and wound its way through the historic town, culminating with a street party in front of Buddhoe Park. Tradition demands that the event begin at least one hour late, and Saturday night was no exception. The revelers passed the time by lounging on the sidewalks and in and on top of cars, waiting for the band to begin. As soon at the first chords were struck, the dancers claimed the street, dancing and gyrating in unison. The band, perched on a flatbed truck, progressed slowly down King Street, enticing onlookers with an incessant beat to join the loose-limbed multitude.
Festival Committee officials were pleased with the attendance and incident-free first event of the season. "It went well. We had some problems initially but everything worked out fine," Richard Nicks, CCF public relations officer, said.
This year's festival was originally scheduled to be held in Christiansted but committee members announced in October the festival would be held in Frederiksted because construction of a recreation center in the D.C. Canegata Ballpark in Christiansted reduced the space available for the traditional village booths and rides. (See "Christmas Festival to Relocate to Frederiksted").
Nicks said funds are still an obstacle to festival presentations. The committee revealed at a Senate committee hearing in May they are more than $70,000 in debt mostly due to a long-standing practice of paying one year's obligations with the next year's allotment. Nicks said they still have not received the 2004 government subsidy. "We applied for $400,000," Nicks said. "It would be great to have more money." Last year the committee received $192,000 from the government.
Nicks said the village schedule is shorter this year "directly due to financial constraints." He called for more financial support and involvement from the community. "Various businesses donate money to festival each year, but with the committee seeking to expand festival, more donations are needed," Nicks said. "We want to make a good impression on visitors but most importantly festival is ours we have to be more involved."
Four young ladies will be vying for the title of Miss St. Croix. The contestants are Good Hope School student Ivyliss Davis; St. Croix Educational Complex students Janeisha John and Kristi Krieger; and UVI student Temisha Libert.
Nicks said despite putting out the word for prince and princess contestants, only 9-year-old Mystica Williams applied. If there are no other applicants, Williams will be crowned Festival Princess. Contestants do not have to apply as a team, Nicks said.
The theme for this year's festival is "Sashay to the Rhythm of Our Cultural Vibes, for Festival 2004-2005." Festival has been an island tradition since 1952.
Nicks also updated the calendar of events. Updates will be added to this schedule as events are announced.
For further information on events, call the Festival office at 719-3379, fax 719-3378 or e-mail [email protected] The office is located in at the Village Mall in Barren Spot, upstairs in Suite 106.
Individuals or corporations interested in making a contribution to the festival committee can do so by mailing their donation to Crucian Festival Committee, P.O. Box 8596, Sunny Isles, or dropping the donation off at the Festival office.
–Junior Calypso Contest, 4 p.m. Island Center.
–Calypso Elimination, 8 p.m., Midland Restaurant.
–Miss St. Croix Pageant, 5 p.m., St. Croix Educational Complex.
–Beach Jam, 2 p.m., Fort Frederik beach.
–Caroling, 6 p.m., Buddhoe Park.
–Festival Village Opening, ribbon-cutting ceremony, 7 p.m., Festival Village.
–Water Sports, noon, Fort Frederik beach.
–Caribbean Night and King and Queen of the Band, 8 p.m., Festival Village.
–Cultural Night/Quelbe Tramp, 8 p.m., Tramp begins at Frederiksted Post Office and ends at Festival Village.
–Food, Arts and Crafts Fair at Ann Heyliger Vegetable Market.
–Calypso Monarch Finals, 8 p.m., Paul E. Joseph Stadium.
–J'ouvert, 5 a.m., Hannah's Rest corner.
–Three Kings Day at Festival Village.
–Latin Night, 8 p.m., at Festival Village.
–Children's Parade, 10 a.m., Frederiksted.
–Adult's Parade, 10 a.m., Frederiksted.
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