Friday was the night to be out and about as St. John Festival’s Village opened in the parking lot across from the post office.
“I want everybody to come and have a good time. Bring the party vibe and leave the bad vibes at home,” St. John resident Mario A. Jackson said as he chatted with friends.
The Village was named Tuckerville after the nickname for Clifton “Ashley” Boynes, a longtime festival supporter and owner of Interisland Boat Services, a company that operates ferries between the U.S. and British Virgin Islands.
“It’s a very prestigious honor,” Boynes said.
He was even more honored by the fact that about 30 of his classmates from the Charlotte Amalie High School Class of 1962 turned out to celebrate their 50th anniversary and Boynes’ celebrity.
Jane Johannes, who chairs the Village committee, spoke about Boynes’ contribution to not only Festival but in helping many youths get their marine captains’ licenses.
In addition to his Charlotte Amalie classmates, Boynes had several relatives including his mother, Vashti Boynes, on hand to help him enjoy the festivities. She spoke about how she received a similar honor 13 years ago when the Food Fair was named in her honor.
The Children’s Village, sponsored by the Rotary Club of St. John and held on the V.I. National Park bulkhead, also opened Friday. It will remain open through Tuesday. Donna Matthias was there with her two children, Seala, 10, and Sierra, 9, to enjoy the fun.
“It’s fun. I like the games and the prizes and the bouncy house,” Seala said.
It was ScotiaBank night at the Children’s Village and about 15 of the bank staff were on hand to help out with activities.
Meanwhile, about a block away at the Festival Village, the action was heating up with the Love City Pan Dragons steel band entertaining while the crowd waited for the opening ceremony to begin.
Business was brisk at a lot of the booths that ringed the parking lot. Val Prakas was busy selling food and drink at the Shuga Shack but this year she added in something extra. She had recyclable and refillable plastic cups for sale for $1 with the proceeds going to the Friends of V.I. National Park.
“We want to encourage recycling,” she said.
The village opening brought out plenty of locals and visitors who mixed and mingled the night away.
Three travelers from France stood in the middle of the village amidst a mound of luggage. It turned out they were students on sojourn through the Caribbean and planned three days in St. John at Concordia Preserve.
“In France, the Virgin Islands is paradise,” Augustin Gazagne said, adding that he learned about the festival on the Internet.
Anita Williams of Louisville, Ky. and Nikki Veal of Atlanta are vacationing on St. Thomas. The two happened to meet bartender Paul Nabor at Hubbly Bubbly Bar on St. Thomas, and the three headed over to St. John.
“Like a wonderful islander, he adopted us and is showing us the island,” Veal said, heading off to dance the night away.