Jan. 7, 2004 – As the Crucian Christmas Festival wound to a close Tuesday night, booth owners, vendors and festival goers in "Bradyville" pronounced the 2003-04 event a great success.
"Bradyville" attracted thousands of people during the 12 days the Village was a part of the festival's offerings. Residents and visitors came out every night to sample the native cuisine, listen to cultural music and gather with family and friends. Children enjoyed carnival rides, sweet treats, toys and games.
"It was better than the 50th anniversary of Festival," booth owner Ben Hur Brady remarked, referring to last year's event. "The parade was not big, but there were record crowds in the village every night," he said.
The village was named in his honor, recognizing his 30 years of participation in Festival. His booth, "The Brady Bunch," specialized in fish, conch, lobster and seafood kallaloo.
And wet weather couldn't stop the festivities, Brady noted: "It rained every night — sometimes the rain came so hard it ran everyone out of the village, but they came back."
What did dampen some enthusiasm was sewage and garbage.
The gut that runs on the right side of the Village reeked of sewage for several nights, marring the mood of booth owners, vendors and attendees. The Public Works Department issued a release on Monday afternoon stating that the Lagoon Street pump station was not functioning and that untreated wastewater was a problem around the Lagoon Street gut as well as Frederiksted's pier and public beach.
Garbage collection also proved to be a problem in the Village. Public Works placed numerous large trash containers in the area, but the collection of the refuse was slow, and spoiled food added to the unpleasantness for festival goers.
Rodney Williams, who chaired the Village Committee, expressed his gratitude to the Festival Committee president, Lenise Hunt, and all the committee members, "It was the best crowd of people that I have seen in a long time," he said. "I can't complain. I'm very happy. The committee did a tremendous job."
Cleopha and Millicent Gumbs, owners of booth No. 10, named "Peter's Rest," said they were very pleased with the festivities. "It was one of the best villages we had in a long time. "I participated in festival since 1972, and this year had the best music," Cleopha Gumbs said. "Parade day was the largest crowd I ever saw in the village."
The Gumbses' booth specialized in chicken legs and johnnycakes. "I'm considered the best johnnycake cook. I sold over 1,200 johnnycakes in the past 12 days," Cleopha Gumbs boasted.
Vida Lawrence also said the Village was a success. Her toy and candy booth did a brisk business selling children's novelties and sweets, she said.
Jeremy Hansen came down from New Jersey to sell his custom-made air-brushed T-shirts and hats. "Business was good; people liked our stuff," he said. Hansen's family is from St. Croix, and he said this is the second time he has set up shop at the festival.
The Phranchize Band, composed of Education Complex students, provided "last lap" music as the festival came to close around 1 a.m. Wednesday, leaving vivid memories of such highlights as the Queen Show, Calypso Finals, J'Ouvert, quelbe tramp and the children's and Adults' parades. The Extausion Band, newcomers to Festival, won the Road March championship with its release "Energy."
For the complete list of winners, see "Crucian Festival 2003-04 parade winners".
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