June 20, 2004 Fathers, all sorts of fathers grandfathers, godfathers, great-grandfathers, stepfathers are the special people in Frenchtown this weekend with a celebration, a min-carnival actually, which began at 7 p.m. Friday.
Traditionally, one father is singled out for the honor, but this year Jean Greaux Jr. said, "It's to honor everybody, all their contributions to our community." Greaux is president of the Committee for the Betterment of Carenage, which has sponsored the Father's Day activities for the past 10 years.
Last year the village was named "Magicsville," in honor of Theodore Danet, and in 2002 it was "Brownieville," in honor of Irvin "Brownie" Brown, popular WSTA radio host and entertainer.
Nobody is ever certain exactly how long the celebration has gone on maybe 40, maybe 50 years it's as normal as souse and potato salad. It simply happens every year.
The climax of Friday's night's opening of the week-end's festivities was, of course, the crowning of Miss Carenage of 2004, Nishel Lawrence. The attractive17-year-old with brunette hair falling to her shoulders underneath her sparking tiara, was magnificently clad in a long purple cape, as a princess should be.
After thanking everyone and commanding them to enjoy themselves, she was accompanied by local officials as she walked to the ballpark gate to cut the pastel ribbons and officially start the weekend. "Now, you can officially start eating and drinking," joked "Brownie" Brown, the evening's master of ceremonies, as the eating and drinking were already well under way.
This year's emphasis was on the role fathers play in raising a family. Senate President David Jones and Keith Richards, speaking for Gov. Charles W. Turnbull, who is off island, stressed the importance the role of a father plays in the life of a child.
The event was sponsored by a $10,000 government grant which event organizer Gail Joseph said they could not have done without. And the organization could not have done without it 52 private-sector sponsors.
Milling through the crowd, greeting old friends was last year's honoree, Theodore "Magic" Danet with wife Lillian, Steve and Pat Richardson, Cain Magras and numerous little kiddies anxious for the ceremony to be over so they could go play in the plastic house where you jump up, or eat hot dogs.
There was no ice cream this year, because Joseph said the St. John Fourth of July celebrations are already starting, and that attracts a larger crowd. The kids didn't seem to notice. There were chicken legs, pates, johnny cake and kallaloo at the "Rum Shack," and, of course, rum drinks.
Saturday afternoon featured $5 conch and potato salad, roast pork, souse, potato stuffing and salmon balls on sale at the ballpark concession. Five dollars? "Yes, that's right," said Mario "Piggy" Turnbull as he and Franklin Sewer were busily dishing out the heaping plates of food.
Turnbull and Sewer are members of the Fifty Plus baseball team, which travels each year to the states, usually bringing home trophies. "It's to give back to the community for what they've given us," Turnbull said.
Winners of the June 6 fishing tournament will highlight Sunday night festivities at 8 p.m., followed by music from Sammy Watts 5-9 p.m., P'your Passion 9 p.m.-1 a.m.
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