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'Williams Ville' Opens With Traditional Flair and Fare

Dec. 31, 2004 — The crowd started off small, with only about 100 people witnessing the opening of "Williams Ville," but soon the gathering swelled to a much larger number as Crucians and visitors found themselves standing shoulder to shoulder enjoying the pageantry, native foods and cultural vibes offered at the 52nd annual Crucian Festival.
The St. Croix Majorettes stole the show with a spectacular display of 16 senior members wielding fiery batons, skillfully, and carefully spinning the flaming sticks over their heads, through their legs, and juggling them between the rows of twirlers dressed in sparkly blue costumes.
Also performing was the dance group Music in Motion, wowing onlookers with their synchronized dance moves. Clad in traditional madras accented outfits, the dancers performed a series of culturally inspired dance steps to the delight of everyone watching.
This year's village is named in honor of Melba Williams, who has participated in festival for over 16 years. Audrey Brown, festival public relations officer, explained why the committee chose to honor Williams. "East or west, it doesn't matter to Ms. Williams where the festival is held," Brown said. "She participates every year."
Lt. Gov. Vargrave A. Richards paid special honor to Williams saying "She makes festival what it is." Richards asked festival goers to honor the essence of the season by engaging in all the festivities and sharing the camaraderie that is the essence of festival.
Dignitaries lined the stage during the opening ceremonies offering holiday wishes while cautioning against bad behavior and overindulgence in holiday spirits.
Reining over the festivities was newly crowned Miss St. Croix, Kristi Kae Krieger. "Have a safe festival," Krieger said. "Don't drink and drive." As she exited from the stage Krieger said she is looking forward to attending all the festival activities but will miss marching with the St. Croix majorettes. Krieger has been a part of the award winning group for the past five years.
On the other side of the village, carnival rides enticed the young and young at heart. Scores of children with parents in tow lined up to ride the carousel, tilt-a-whirl and Ferris wheel. Squeals of delight echoed in the air. Children could be seen with faces freshly painted with pictures of flowers and abstract art. Many munched candy apples, pizza slices and popcorn.
Gregory Francis, St. Croix Administrator took part in the village opening ceremonies. "Be safe and caring, the way it used to be," Francis advised. "Look out for one another." Also taking part were Delegate Donna M. Christensen, Sen.Ronald E. Russell and Police Commissioner Elton Lewis.

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