Feb. 8, 2007 — The stage is set for the seventh annual St. John Arts Festival to be held Feb. 23 to March 2 at various locations around St. John.
This year's theme is St. John Through the Ages. "This is a big insight into the history and culture of St. John," organizer Frank Langley said.
He said the event brings to the forefront the soul of St. John that's not found in bars, beaches and restaurants. "This is the real stuff," he said.
The festival kicks off on Feb. 23 from 4 to 6 p.m. with a reception at the Battery to showcase the arts and crafts that will be on exhibit through Feb. 25. Exhibit hours will be 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 24 and 2 to 4 p.m. Feb. 25.
The Love City Pan Dragons will play steel pan at the opening reception.
The exhibits include a display of children's paintings and sculpture depicting the history of St. John.
"This is the first time we've involved children throughout the festival," Langley said.
The festival also includes concerts and dancing in Cruz Bay Park. Times are noon to 4 p.m. Feb. 24 through March 2. The music schedule is as follows:
–Feb. 24: Echo People (dancing and percussion);
–Feb. 25: St. John Quadrille Dancers followed by the combined St. John Choirs;
— Feb. 26: Soldier Crab Band (island music);
–Feb. 27: Inner Vision (reggae);
–Feb. 28: Koko and the Sunshine Band (scratch music);
— March 1: Samba Combo (tropical jazz); and
–March 2: Outdoor Asylum (original music).
Food and crafts will be for sale in Cruz Bay Park from noon to 5 p.m. Feb. 24 through March 2.
Children from Guy Benjamin, Julius E. Sprauve and The Gifft Hill Schools will have exhibits on display in Cruz Bay Park, which will focus on the natural and anthropological history of St. John. The exhibits will be up from noon to 4 p.m. Feb. 24 and from 2 to 4 p.m. Feb. 25.
St. John School of the Arts in Cruz Bay is the site for the festival's film and play series. All events are free.
St. John playwright Clarence Cuthbertson's "Dear Ana/Dear Peter," a play about Peter Von Scholten and his mistress, Ana Heegaard, will be performed at 8 p.m. Feb. 24 and at 3:30 p.m. Feb. 25. Von Scholten was governor when St. Croix slaves marched on Fort Frederik in Frederiksted to demand their freedom.
At 2 p.m. Feb. 25 at the School of the Arts, children from Sprauve, Benjamin and Gifft Hill schools will do an historic tableau and skits on "St. John Through the Ages."
A film about St. Croix resident James Brewster, "Jamesie, King of Scratch," whose scratch music is known throughout the Caribbean, will play at 7:30 p.m. March 2 at the School of the Arts. A live concert will follow at 9 p.m.
St. John photographer Steve Simonsen's film, "The Establishment of the V.I. National Park," will run at 7:30 p.m. March 9 at the School of the Arts.
The national park will also hold two activities during the Arts Festival time frame. The annual Folklife Festival runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Feb. 27 and 28 (See "Folklife Festival set for End of February"). An archeology exhibit at Cinnamon Bay will be open from Feb. 26 through the month of March. Opening times depend on staffing.
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