Dec. 30, 2003 – Virgin Islanders and visitors alike flocked to the 51st annual Crucian Christmas Festival Food, Arts and Crafts Fair, held Tuesday at the Ann Heiliger vegetable market in "Freedom City" Frederiksted.
More than 30 food vendors tantalized the taste buds of hundreds of attendees looking for just the right plate of food to satisfy their hunger. Other booths offered sweet breads, guava pies, native arts and crafts, T-shirts, toys and literature by native authors. As several bands played traditional tunes, the sounds of the banjo, triangle, squash and congas ringing through the air commanded bodies to move to the music.
The food fair itself was named in honor of Louise Petersen-Samuel, a Frederiksted cook well known for her pastries, vienna cakes and native "horseshoe" cookies.
"The fair is excellent!" Bradley Christian, Crucian Festival Committee member and Food Fair chair, said. "People are saying it's the best one in a long time. All the vendors are almost sold out!"
Food vendor Alda Francis said it was a very tiring day, but a rewarding one: "I sold out of everything," she said after serving up hundreds of plates of conch, seafood kallaloo, pigtail kallaloo, roast goat, roast pork, fried fish and fungi, and crab and rice.
As the fair was winding down around 5 p.m., another vendor, Eleanor Petersen, said she was happy but very tired, too. "I had a great time," she said. "Everyone loved the food, and people came back for more!"
The St. Patrick's Alumni Association sold Christmas sweetbreads wrapped in colorful cellophane and tied with holiday ribbon. Alumna Amy Petersen said the 2003 Food Fair was one of the best she has attended. "It was a success, one of the biggest I have ever seen," she said. "People go and come back, and we've had so many people here since this morning."
Rivaling the food at the fair was the entertainment. Fairgoers were entertained by Blinky and the Roadmasters, Stanley and the 10 Sleepless Knights, the Image Band, the Oscar Williams Masqueraders and Willard John's Moko Jumbies. The St. Croix Heritage Dancers, led by caller Bradley Christian, performed quadrille.
Sen. Shawn-Michael Malone was one of several people who felt the call of the music and joined the dancers. "I love dancing the quadrille almost as much as I like the Crucian delicacies here at the fair," he said, confessing to having sampled kallaloo, roast goat and seasoned rice, roast pork and a guavaberry tart. "And I'm going back for more," he said.
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