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Agriculture Fair Shines, Rain or Shine

Nov. 20, 2004 — The rain may have canceled the 2003 St. Thomas-St. John Agricultural and Food Fair, but organizers were determined to host the event this year come rain or sunshine.
Luckily, for them and the many adults and smiling children who attended Saturday despite a few foreboding clouds, the rain held off until much later in the afternoon.
As the fairgoers arrived at the grounds of the Reichhold Center for the Arts, they were greeted with the sounds of bleating animals and the scents of various tantalizing dishes in numerous booths surrounding them.
The fair, jointly sponsored by the V.I. Department of Agriculture and the University of the Virgin Islands' Cooperative Extension Service, was held in honor of two of its founding members this year — the late Edith Quetel Bryan and Gwendolyn Adams.
The fairgrounds opened at 10 a.m. and fairgoers visited several booths buying plants, fruits, vegetables, honey, drinks and food. The children took advantage of the Lawrence Boschulte Petting Zoo, taking the opportunity to hold and view baby rabbits, ponies, birds and other animals.
"Every year I usually bring [my kids] because they like to look at the different animals and check the display," Hainsley "Alico" Adams said. "It has been good so far."
Adams had come with his son and grandson.
"We're all animal lovers," Adams said as he watched his son inspecting a pair of guinea hens.
For first-timer Afrika Proctor, 7, coming to the fair was a wonderful experience.
"I love the baby rabbits," she said as she held one of the little creatures in her arms.
Nearby Charles Leonard and his brother sold honey, vegetables and whole chickens, the size of small turkeys, to fairgoers.
Leonard, who was raised in Connecticut said as a boy he was always interested in agriculture. After retiring from the U.S. Air Force and holding other jobs, he took up farming.
"Somehow I found myself involved again in what I loved as a little boy," Leonard said.
At 2 p.m., an opening ceremony was held where the families of Bryan and Gwendolyn Adams received plaques in their honor.
Selah Bryan, accepting the plaque on behalf of her mother Edith Bryan, said it was a "humbling experience" to receive such a token. While she wished her mother were alive to receive the honor she said it was still timely and much appreciated.
Gov. Charles Turnbull, in giving his remarks, urged the farmers to continue in their agricultural efforts.
"Agriculture is the No. 1 economic activity on the planet," Turnbull said. "We will continue to do what we can to aid the farmers."
A representative from Sen. Luther Renee's office also spoke on his behalf. Renee was scheduled to speak but had to go off-island for an emergency, his aide said.
Sen. Louis Hill and a representative from Sen. Celestino White's office also attended the fair.
At this year's fair there were 18 arts and craft booths, 22 food booths and 10 nursery booths. The Cooperative Extension Service, Planning and Natural Departments, the Agriculture Department, the Water and Power Authority and several other governmental agencies also had booths. Free health screenings were also provided to the fairgoers by the V.I. Department of Health.
The fair continues 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. The Rising Stars Steel Orchestra will take to the stage from 3 to 5 p.m. Admission is $2 for those 12 and older and $1 for those 11 years of age and younger.

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