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Agriculture and Food Fair Set for Dec. 5 and 6

The 27th St. Thomas-St. John Agriculture and Food Fair will celebrate the season from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 5 and 6, on the grounds of the Reichhold Center for the Arts, on the University of the Virgin Islands, St. Thomas campus. Opening ceremonies are scheduled to begin at 2 p.m., Saturday, featuring the presentation of awards to this year’s Crop Farmer of the Year and Livestock Farmer of the Year. Promoters are also inviting the public to take a look inside the lives of bees at a special exhibit being set up on the fair grounds.

The theme for the agriculture fair is “Fresh Start, Grow Smart.” Dale Morton, public relations officer for the committee, says the theme was chosen to reflect the need for farmers to organize and modernize in order to increase profitability. “In order to be a successful farmer, you need a plan,” Morton said.
“People start coming through from 7:30-8 a.m., although it officially opens at 10 a.m. Some people who normally go to market on Saturdays come down to pick up plants,” he said. Other early-day fair goers appear in search of native fruits to take home or enjoy on the spot. This year’s event is jointly sponsored by the UVI Cooperative Extension Service, the V.I. Department of Agriculture, Fintrac and the St. Thomas-St. John Agriculture and Food Fair Committee.
Nine arts and crafts vendors and 25 food vendors are expected to take part, although Morton says some vendors may display on either Saturday, Dec. 5 or Sunday, Dec. 6. Others are expected to greet the public throughout the two-day event. A number of demonstrations are also scheduled for Saturday. There will be juice making with Elridge Thomas, a grafting demonstration, and a cross sectional display of an active bee hive. Around 3 p.m. on Saturday, livestock farmer Lionel Boschulte is scheduled to give a demonstration of goat and sheep herding.
Organizers are also planning to stage a series of traditional games for children, including sack races, musical chairs and a spoon and lime race. There will also be educational displays put on by the Department of Agriculture, the V.I. National Guard, the V.I. Energy Office, the Department of Health, the Department of Planning and Natural Resources, the UVI Cooperative Extension Service and Kwanza 365, Inc. An exhibit will also be presented by a new student group, the UVI Council for Exceptional Children, promoting the inclusion of children with special needs.
The entertainment line-up for Saturday and Sunday features the St. Thomas Heritage Dancers, the Addelita Cancryn Junior High School Quadrille Dancers and St. John’s Ah We Band, jamming live music until the end of the day. Judges choose the best dishes in four separate contests on Sunday. Cash prizes will be awarded for the best ital, the best sweet bread, the best maubi and the best dumb bread. Those who want to compete have until Thursday to sign up. Call Mary Bertie at 774-5182.
For further information, contact Dale Morton at UVI’s Cooperative Extension Service at 693-1086 or e-mail dmorton@uvi.edu.
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