June 5, 2004 Pan-O-Rama is all about the kids, said several adults who gathered with a couple hundred others on the Cruz Bay waterfront Saturday to hear nearly a dozen groups from St. John and St. Thomas play pan.
"I like supporting the kids," said Elsie Thomas-Trotman, who as Elsie Thomas was the first July 4th Celebration queen. That was 1960, and Thomas-Trotman carried the title Miss Independence. Several years later, the queen became known as Miss St. John. Thomas-Trotman, as Elsie Roberts, went on to serve as the island's deputy police commissioner.
She was chatting with Edmond Roberts and Oswin Sewer. Both are retirees. Roberts was a ranger with the National Park Service, and Sewer was a teacher at Julius E. Sprauve School. They were busy catching up with Thomas-Trotman.
Sewer said his son, Zaid, 13, was a member of St. John's Love City Pan Dragons. As always, the St. John group kicked off the annual event that signifies the start of the month-long July 4th Celebration.
"Carnival is pan. Pan is Carnival," explained Ira Wade. Wade is the deputy Public Works commissioner when he is not organizing Pan-O-Rama.
In addition to the Love City Pan Dragons, numerous groups from St. Thomas made their way across Pillsbury Sound for the event. They included the Montessori Meteors, the Antilles Hurricanes, the Ulla F. Muller Panatics, the Joseph Sibilly Sunrays, the Bertha Boschulte Burning Blazers, the Addelita Cancryn Iguanas, the Rising Stars, the St. Thomas All Stars, Phoenix Sounds Steel Orchestra, and Pan in Motion.
The adjacent Cruz Bay Park was filled with vendors selling all manner of wares. As shoppers looked over items like batik clothing and wicker baskets, the pan music provided a pleasant backdrop.
The event brought out both residents and visitors. Amy Maden, a visitor from Highbridge, N. J., said it was a fun time.
"The kids do a great job," she said.
St. John resident Doris Stuckert said, if you live in St. John, you have to get out to events.
Some folks, like Terry Provost, owner of At Your Service travel agency, and her youthful partner, Rahkeem Titre, 3, were up and dancing.
While Pan-O-Rama closed the street along the Waterfront, vacation villa manager Lisa Durgin said the police did a fine job rerouting traffic so villa staff could pick up their guests at the ferry dock.
"They've got it sorted out," she said.
This year's Pan-O-Rama was the first for new St. Thomas resident Christina Rhodes. She came with friends specifically to hear the Antilles Hurricanes play.
"To see the youths do this it's great," she said.
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