Dec. 13, 2004 – We From Upstreet called upon the community to celebrate the season with its nineth annual lighting of Roosevelt Park, and the community harkened to the call Monday night.
Milo's Kings set a tone of Caribbean cheer as the sun set and the park began to fill, not, perhaps, with throngs of children clamoring for Santa, but with an older, 50-plus crowd who shared the memories of Charlotte Amalie Christmases past.
Stormy weather throughout the day brought clouds over the island and probably topped off a cistern or two, but did little to dampen the spirit downtown. Naomi Monsanto, WeFUS president, said it was a "joyous evening for the whole Upstreet neighborhood."
Vernon Finch, WeFUS past president, explained that Upstreet is the area from the Alvaro de Lugo Post Office up to Mafolie, down around Hospital Ground and east through Estate Thomas. "Many of us don't live here anymore, but we still have a kinship with the area and want to see it thrive," he said.
In addition to the annual Roosevelt Park lighting, WeFUS maintains an after-school program that serves 50 students and is involved with development in the historic district. Finch said the group of community activists is 80 to 90 members strong.
Sen. Shawn-Michael Malone was on hand to celebrate with the crowd of revelers. He said, "We have to remember the reason for the season," adding that Christmas is a time "for us to be reminded that we have a bright future ahead of us."
Like the future in Malone's vision, the night was framed by thousands of white lights that twinkled from the park's numerous trees and bushes. There was a feeling of communion as Charlotte Amalie's old-timers shook hands and exchanged warm holiday wishes, and a hush as the Voices of Love carolers strolled together across the lawn proclaiming in song the meaning of Christmas.
The Party Hardies carolers, festooned in white tops with fetching red scarves, were also on the evening's roster with the Carlos Woods and Mungo Niles Quadrille Dancers. If you want to know more about WeFUS or get involved, call them at 690-3242.
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