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Charlotte Amalie
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HomeNewsArchivesFUND CUTS CAN'T STOP DE JULY FOURTH FESTIVAL

FUND CUTS CAN'T STOP DE JULY FOURTH FESTIVAL

This year's St. John Fourth of July Celebration offers more events in fewer days — and a prince for every princess. Its title, perhaps more telling than its proposer envisioned, is "The Dawn of a New Day for Festival Y2K."
With a one-third cut in government funding this year, the St. John Festival and Cultural Organization has reduced the annual fete to a six-day schedule while adding two new events to the official line-up — a boat show on July 1 and a foot race just before the big parade on July 4. To make it all happen, it's meanwhile looking to the private sector for generous donations.
"Our allotment was cut from $75,000 to $50,000, and we're urging businesses to donate as much as they can to put on the fireworks this year," committee chair Leona Smith said.
The fun officiall starts on eSaturday, June 3, with the Pan-O-Rama in the streets surrounding Cruz Bay Park. Coordinator Ira Wade says he has commitments from 11 steelbands and is awaiting word from two more.
Next comes the Prince and Princess Selection. The St. John Celebration, like its V.I. Carnival counterpart on St. Thomas, has had years where only girls — or more girls than boys — have entered the contest. But this year, Smith says, the committee has been successful in attracting three boys to pair up.
The duos of Nanyamka Kagan and Keith Abraham, Leyah Tonge and Imri Tonge, and Lemia Liburd and Jamal Jackson will vie for the young royals titles on Father's Day, June 18, in a pageant set to start at 6 p.m. at the Winston Wells Ballpark.
The following Saturday night, June 24, hundreds of spectators are expected to fill the ballpark to cheer on their favorites among the four contestants for this year's Miss St. John Queen Selection. LaToya Browne, Anesta Charlemagne, Suzette Kelly and Loralee Maduro will give it their all in the show that has traditionally been the most popular onstage event of the St. John Celebration. The competition is to begin at 7 p.m.
The coronation of this year's reigning royalty will be combined with the official opening of the St. John Festival Food Fair. Late visitors arriving by ferry will catch the live musical vibes of calypso and quelbe coming from the Cruz Bay Park bandstand that is a perennial feature of the fair. This year's food fair honoree is Enid Francis, a tradition bearer who shares her baking skills with visitors at the V.I. National Park's Annaberg restoration.
A funky fun time is promised for all who turn out for the St. John Calypso Show on Saturday, June 17, at 8 p.m.. St. John's calypso program is locally produced and features performers not normally seen in other venues, singing original numbers with lyrics rich in melee. What it lacks in polish, it more than makes up for in fun. Big stars like The Mighty Pat from St. Croix and King Kan Fu Plentae from St. Thomas usually make an appearance, along with the reigning St. Thomas Monarch, in this case, Whadablee.
Thursday, June 29, will being the official opening at 7 p.m. of Daniel's Court, this year's festival village. It's named in honor of Harry Daniel, a retired police officer who is known for his civic involvement and is currently the president of the St. John Community Foundation. Also among his contributions, Smith points out, is heading up the Fourth of July committee and staying involved as a volunteer throughout the years.
Unlike the carnival celebrations on its larger sister islands, the St. John festival traditionally includes events for the athletically inclined. And this year there'll be even more.
The bicycle race, scheduled for Saturday, June 17, usually runs from Cruz Bay through the National Park by way of North Shore Road, then up the hill at Little Maho Bay to Centerline Road, and then sharply left and out toward Coral Bay. Triathletes love this event, but so do local weekend road warriors.
The half-mile swim, from Hawksnest Bay to Gibney Beach, is set for 8 a.m. on Sunday, July 2. And new this year is a parade day foot race right up the parade route, from the National Park Visitor Center past the Loredon Boynes Dock and up the road past Zone D Police Command. The race is set for 8 a.m. on Tuesday, July 4.
Also new this year is a boat show that will be the prelude to the annual Boat Race. Racing fans from St. John, St. Thomas, Tortola and as likely as not Puerto Rico will have a chance to admire up close some of the custom-painted speed boats that will flash through the waters of Cruz Bay Harbor for the championship cup and bragging rights. Saturday, July 1, is the big day. The action starts at 10 a.m..
National Park Service ranger Denise Georges is back this year in charge of the Culture Day presentation set for Monday, July 3 — Emancipation Day in the Virgin Islands. Georges has been producing the Annaberg Cultural Fair in observance of Black History Month each February since about 1990. She's bringing some of the historians, storytellers and musicians who take part in that event with her this year to Cruz Bay Park. The program, which is to start at 2 p.m., is one of those unique opportunities for more recent arrivals to sit among St. Johnians gathered to take in the presentation, their faces glowing with quiet pride.
The festival finale kicks off just before dawn on Tuesday, July 4, with J'Ouvert.Young people — and some hardy party-ers not so young — from throughout the Virgin Islands stay up all night, as do some of the village booth operators, waiting for the bands to come. And when they come, they seldom disappoint. St. John J'Ouvert usually begins with an acoustic tramp led by a pan-around-the neck troupe that assembles in front of the Nazareth Lutheran Church. The big bands blaring away from fully-loaded tractor trailers follow shortly thereafter.
Those who've never been to St. John's carnival may be surprised to know that the little island puts on quite a Fourth of July parade. It's an event that draws St. Johnians of all stripes and ages. Those who want the best view start setting out their beach chairs two hours before the official 11 a.m. start. Small contingents of such St. Thomas troupes as Elskoe and Associates, the Hugga Bunch, Tropical Masqueraders, the Indians and the Stunts and Twirlers Majorettes never fail to impress. St. John's two major resorts, the Westin and Caneel Bay, send out their troupes to capture the judges' attention. Children from the public and private schools join the fun.
At the parade's end, by 2 or 3 p.m., throngs will converge on Daniel's Village for more music, mingling and merry-making in anticipation of the fireworks show starting at 9 p.m. in Cruz Bay Harbor.
Committee members say the Zamboni company is set to stage the annual spectacle of night sky lights, but more money is needed to pull the show off. Smith is asking that local businesses be especially generous this year, since the budget is tight.
Smith also noted that she plans to meet with police at Zone D Command and private security officials to see about installing surveillance cameras around the village to insure that all festival-goers have a safe and happy St. John Festival / Fourth of July Celebration.
There are those who bristle at "Fourth of July" as the title of the event, favoring "Third of July" in recognition of the greater local significance of that date — emancipation in the Danish West Indies, versus the American colonies' declaration of independence from England commemorated on July 4. But Smith says "Fourth of July Celebration" it officially is, and for now, at least, it will remain.

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This year's St. John Fourth of July Celebration offers more events in fewer days -- and a prince for every princess. Its title, perhaps more telling than its proposer envisioned, is "The Dawn of a New Day for Festival Y2K."
With a one-third cut in government funding this year, the St. John Festival and Cultural Organization has reduced the annual fete to a six-day schedule while adding two new events to the official line-up -- a boat show on July 1 and a foot race just before the big parade on July 4. To make it all happen, it's meanwhile looking to the private sector for generous donations.
"Our allotment was cut from $75,000 to $50,000, and we're urging businesses to donate as much as they can to put on the fireworks this year," committee chair Leona Smith said.
The fun officiall starts on eSaturday, June 3, with the Pan-O-Rama in the streets surrounding Cruz Bay Park. Coordinator Ira Wade says he has commitments from 11 steelbands and is awaiting word from two more.
Next comes the Prince and Princess Selection. The St. John Celebration, like its V.I. Carnival counterpart on St. Thomas, has had years where only girls -- or more girls than boys -- have entered the contest. But this year, Smith says, the committee has been successful in attracting three boys to pair up.
The duos of Nanyamka Kagan and Keith Abraham, Leyah Tonge and Imri Tonge, and Lemia Liburd and Jamal Jackson will vie for the young royals titles on Father's Day, June 18, in a pageant set to start at 6 p.m. at the Winston Wells Ballpark.
The following Saturday night, June 24, hundreds of spectators are expected to fill the ballpark to cheer on their favorites among the four contestants for this year's Miss St. John Queen Selection. LaToya Browne, Anesta Charlemagne, Suzette Kelly and Loralee Maduro will give it their all in the show that has traditionally been the most popular onstage event of the St. John Celebration. The competition is to begin at 7 p.m.
The coronation of this year's reigning royalty will be combined with the official opening of the St. John Festival Food Fair. Late visitors arriving by ferry will catch the live musical vibes of calypso and quelbe coming from the Cruz Bay Park bandstand that is a perennial feature of the fair. This year's food fair honoree is Enid Francis, a tradition bearer who shares her baking skills with visitors at the V.I. National Park's Annaberg restoration.
A funky fun time is promised for all who turn out for the St. John Calypso Show on Saturday, June 17, at 8 p.m.. St. John's calypso program is locally produced and features performers not normally seen in other venues, singing original numbers with lyrics rich in melee. What it lacks in polish, it more than makes up for in fun. Big stars like The Mighty Pat from St. Croix and King Kan Fu Plentae from St. Thomas usually make an appearance, along with the reigning St. Thomas Monarch, in this case, Whadablee.
Thursday, June 29, will being the official opening at 7 p.m. of Daniel's Court, this year's festival village. It's named in honor of Harry Daniel, a retired police officer who is known for his civic involvement and is currently the president of the St. John Community Foundation. Also among his contributions, Smith points out, is heading up the Fourth of July committee and staying involved as a volunteer throughout the years.
Unlike the carnival celebrations on its larger sister islands, the St. John festival traditionally includes events for the athletically inclined. And this year there'll be even more.
The bicycle race, scheduled for Saturday, June 17, usually runs from Cruz Bay through the National Park by way of North Shore Road, then up the hill at Little Maho Bay to Centerline Road, and then sharply left and out toward Coral Bay. Triathletes love this event, but so do local weekend road warriors.
The half-mile swim, from Hawksnest Bay to Gibney Beach, is set for 8 a.m. on Sunday, July 2. And new this year is a parade day foot race right up the parade route, from the National Park Visitor Center past the Loredon Boynes Dock and up the road past Zone D Police Command. The race is set for 8 a.m. on Tuesday, July 4.
Also new this year is a boat show that will be the prelude to the annual Boat Race. Racing fans from St. John, St. Thomas, Tortola and as likely as not Puerto Rico will have a chance to admire up close some of the custom-painted speed boats that will flash through the waters of Cruz Bay Harbor for the championship cup and bragging rights. Saturday, July 1, is the big day. The action starts at 10 a.m..
National Park Service ranger Denise Georges is back this year in charge of the Culture Day presentation set for Monday, July 3 -- Emancipation Day in the Virgin Islands. Georges has been producing the Annaberg Cultural Fair in observance of Black History Month each February since about 1990. She's bringing some of the historians, storytellers and musicians who take part in that event with her this year to Cruz Bay Park. The program, which is to start at 2 p.m., is one of those unique opportunities for more recent arrivals to sit among St. Johnians gathered to take in the presentation, their faces glowing with quiet pride.
The festival finale kicks off just before dawn on Tuesday, July 4, with J'Ouvert.Young people -- and some hardy party-ers not so young -- from throughout the Virgin Islands stay up all night, as do some of the village booth operators, waiting for the bands to come. And when they come, they seldom disappoint. St. John J'Ouvert usually begins with an acoustic tramp led by a pan-around-the neck troupe that assembles in front of the Nazareth Lutheran Church. The big bands blaring away from fully-loaded tractor trailers follow shortly thereafter.
Those who've never been to St. John's carnival may be surprised to know that the little island puts on quite a Fourth of July parade. It's an event that draws St. Johnians of all stripes and ages. Those who want the best view start setting out their beach chairs two hours before the official 11 a.m. start. Small contingents of such St. Thomas troupes as Elskoe and Associates, the Hugga Bunch, Tropical Masqueraders, the Indians and the Stunts and Twirlers Majorettes never fail to impress. St. John's two major resorts, the Westin and Caneel Bay, send out their troupes to capture the judges' attention. Children from the public and private schools join the fun.
At the parade's end, by 2 or 3 p.m., throngs will converge on Daniel's Village for more music, mingling and merry-making in anticipation of the fireworks show starting at 9 p.m. in Cruz Bay Harbor.
Committee members say the Zamboni company is set to stage the annual spectacle of night sky lights, but more money is needed to pull the show off. Smith is asking that local businesses be especially generous this year, since the budget is tight.
Smith also noted that she plans to meet with police at Zone D Command and private security officials to see about installing surveillance cameras around the village to insure that all festival-goers have a safe and happy St. John Festival / Fourth of July Celebration.
There are those who bristle at "Fourth of July" as the title of the event, favoring "Third of July" in recognition of the greater local significance of that date -- emancipation in the Danish West Indies, versus the American colonies' declaration of independence from England commemorated on July 4. But Smith says "Fourth of July Celebration" it officially is, and for now, at least, it will remain.