Feb. 25, 2006 – Saturday afternoon the troubles were still there to worry about – Iraq, the V.I. school system, the energy crisis – but the crowd spread over a half mile on St. Croix's Cane Bay Beach was not attending to troubles.
The young ladies showing off bright tattoos of Aztec suns and medieval dragons on their backs, and the men dancing to a reggae beat had only one charge they were fulfilling: having fun as the North Shore held its fourth Mardi Croix.
Brian Updyke, who operates Virgin Kayak at Cane Bay with his wife, Jill, said, "It is just good having something happening out here. And these are good people. You don't hear any gun shots."
Maybe a thousand or so people attended the noontime parade and party on the slim stretch of beach, and they spread out among the sea grapes, tamarinds, island pines and ocean.
Warren Mosler, who owns 100 acres running from the beach at Cane Bay back to the top of the first mountain ridge in the rain forest, is optimistic about the future of the event. He said as he walked through the crowd, "It is a good event. It is sure to grow. It could double next year."
Mosler said he had nothing to do with promoting the event although the people who lease space for the beach bar, kayak and dive shop located there did.
The smell of grilled hot dogs wafted across the family event in the early afternoon. Youngsters tossed footballs and played tag in the waves.
Parade participants in masks and exotic dress mingled at the beach party.
Lieutenant Eric Thomas of the V.I. Police Department said it was a well-behaved crowd. He said the only problem that afternoon was the emergency ambulance breaking down and being towed away. Eight officers were overseeing the event, and the north shore road was shut down during the parade.
Plain and simple. It was a big party.
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