Jan. 8, 2006 — The Adults Parade delivered a fantastic display of pageantry, culture and music, wrapping up the 2005-06 Crucian Christmas Festival. Parade-goers declared the event "the best ever."
"It's wonderful, extraordinary," said Sasha Phillips, Miss St. Croix Central High, who was viewing the parade from the dignitaries' booths.
Elvis Pedro gave the parade a big "thumbs-up," while Carl Yang said the event was "well put together" and "beautiful."
The parade, which was scheduled to start at 11 a.m., got underway at about noon, according to festival organizers. It was at least two hours after sunset by the time the last entry made its way past the judges' stand.
It was a typical V.I. day: the sky was bright blue, and fluffy, white clouds drifted lazily by. The hills to the north and east of Frederiksted provided a palette of green as a backdrop for the dazzling multicolored costumes and parade entries.
Thousands of people came early to get the best vantage point to view the parade. Families set up tents, chairs and cots for the children to nap on, while coolers were filled with cold drinks and food in anticipation of the long day.
Royalty led the parade with Mr. St. Croix Kevin Swanston and Miss St. Croix Francillia Benjamin, along with MaCheire Mercado (1st runner up and Miss Photogenic) and Zydmarie Sanes (2nd runner up and Miss Intellect). Also on the lead float was Jose Navarro, two-time Junior Calypso King.
Following in their own sports convertible was Festival Prince Maleek Matthews and Princess Alyia Jackson. They were followed by Hal Jackson International and V.I. Talented Teen Esonica Veira, Miss Caribbean Talented Teen Rafalia Corneiro, and Shakyma Mercado, V.I. Hal Jackson Talented Teen 1st runner up and the first V.I. contestant in the Miss America Outstanding Teen pageant.
Also making an appearance in the parade were Frances Ruiz, Miss Virgin Islands Puerto Rico Friendship; Sasha Phillips, Miss St. Croix Central High; Kathleen Francis, Miss I'm Every Woman; and V.I. Carnival Queen K'misha-Victoria Counts.
The parade grand marshal was Judith Nelson, organizer of the J&J Fun Troupe. The official parade lineup listed 35 entries, but according to festival organizers, last-minute entries brought the final figure to over 40.
In the majorettes section, the all-time favorite St. Croix Majorettes dazzled the crowd with their precision marching and baton-throwing. The Sparkle Lite Twirlers signaled their appearance in the parade by the traditional blowing of the conch shell. With the bright sunshine bouncing off their gold-, red-, and white-sequined outfits, the group performed a repertoire that included quadrille, Calypso and Latin dancing. The Freedom City Majikal Twirlerz showed their professional style, participating for the first time in the "big" parade. Wearing blue-and-silver outfits, the group added a native touch with blue madras on their headpieces and batons.
The Arthur A. Richards School entry presented a "Musical Journey From the Beat of the African Drums to the Sweet Melody of Jazz." The first section represented the djembe African drums, and the second section portrayed piano keys.
The St. Croix Educational Complex presented the colors of festival with a multi-hued troupe that featured feathers, beads and sequins. The Hovensa troupe featured a lady dressed as a beautiful bird in a gilded cage. Birds of Paradise — including the King of the Band — danced, pranced and flapped their colorful wings behind the float.
The Rigidims troupe told the story of Anansi the Spider, incorporating the entire cast of characters, including the Queen of the Band, the Crucian Monarch Butterfly, hibiscus flowers, wasps, broo crab and broo dog. J&J Fun Troupe came with a 10-section troupe resplendent with glitz, glamour and pageantry. Singing Birds of Paradise was presented by the Divi Carina Bay Casino, and V.I. Eccentric presented a kallaloo of cultures, featuring flags from various Caribbean nations.
All along the parade route, viewers were making favorable comments on the grand finale of the festival. "It's a pleasure," said Sloan Schoyer, director of Hovensa's marine terminal. "It brings everyone together," he said.
The 2005-06 festival activities wrapped up in Fergusville with the Xitement Band and the Imagination Band.
For more photos of the Adults Parade, check out the Source's Community/Other Stuffsection.
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