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HomeNewsLocal governmentFireworks Mark the Opening of the Festival's Irmaria Stress Free Zone

Fireworks Mark the Opening of the Festival’s Irmaria Stress Free Zone

Lt. Gov. Osbert Potter with Festival Queen Shanisa Emmanuel, Prince Te'quan Richards and Princess Kaylona Larocque.
Lt. Gov. Osbert Potter with Festival Queen Shanisa Emmanuel, Prince Te’quan Richards and Princess Kaylona Larocque.

A spectacular fireworks show lit up the night time sky at about 8 p.m. Tuesday, heralding the official opening of the Irmaria Stress Free Zone, the name of the 2017-2018 Crucian Christmas Festival Village located just northeast of the Frederiksted pier.

The fireworks were a fitting backdrop for the ribbon cutting ceremony, which followed a brief program on the village stage. On hand for the opening program were a few government officials including Police Commissioner Delroy Richards, Delegate to Congress Stacy Plaskett and Lt. Governor Osbert Potter. Also on stage were the reining Festival Royalty, Shanisa Emmanuel, the 65th annual Miss St Croix, Festival Prince Te’quan Richards and Festival Princess Kaylona Larocque. Ian Forde, the president of the WAPA Employee’s Association was present to honor the memory of Jason Julius, a WAPA employee who lost his life while restoring power to the St. Thomas district days after Hurricane Irma devastated that island. Pastor Mona Barnes gave the invocation and benediction.

The police commissioner stressed safety in the village, the J’ouvert and on the roads.

“Have a fun and carefree Festival but make sure you are safe,” Richards said. “We have suffered enormous damage in the hurricanes so remember to have a designated driver.”

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Because of the road conditions the number of accidents have increased, Richards said, some resulting in injury and even death. Richards said his own police vehicles have also been involved in car accidents.

Delegate Plaskett urged the village attendees to have a Happy Holidays.

“Despite what we have been through our locals and our visitors will see the best that St. Croix has to offer at festival time” she said.

Lt. Gov. Osbert Potter, who was representing Gov. Kenneth E. Mapp, said the festival “could not have happened at a better time.” He said it’s important for residents to have a place to de-stress and put aside the work that we must do to restore our community, if only for a little while.

“The Irmaria Stress Free Zone is the place to have a wonderful time and enjoy yourself with family and friends,” he said.

Festival President Davidson Charlemange said it was fitting to name the village in honor of the local and visiting relief and recovery workers.

“After all we have been through in the Virgin Islands and in the Caribbean region this is a way to show that we are V.I. Strong. We will recover and emerge better than ever,” he said.

The platform guests left the stage and went to cut the official ribbon. As the ceremonial scissors snipped the fabric the first boom of fireworks was heard from the beachside. Young and old alike clapped and marveled at the light show in the sky. The fireworks lasted about 12 minutes before ending in a crescendo of colored lights and blossoming shapes in the night sky.

Charlemagne explained the fireworks were launched from the beach north of the Frederiksted fort near the old Coconuts restaurant and the Frederiksted Country Club.

“Those properties are abandoned. They were destroyed in the hurricane. We launched from there instead of our usual location on the Ann E. Abramson Pier because the cruise ship housing all the off-island recovery workers in still berthed at the pier,” he said. “They had the best view of the fireworks,” he said with a smile.

The much-anticipated Coney Island styled rides opened Tuesday night to the delight of the hundreds of children who stood in line to get their thrills. It has been two years since the previous company contract was not renewed because of concerns about the safety of the rides. The rides currently in place are new and locally owned.

The Irmaria Stress Free Zone will be open from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. every night until the closing on Jan. 6. The closing fireworks show will be even bigger, according to the festival president.

Here is the schedule:

December 27

Beginning at 8 p.m. In the Irmaria Stress Free Zone

The World Famous Express Band

Spectrum Band from St. Thomas

December 28

Beginning at 8 p.m. In the Irmaria Stress Free Zone

Digital Band

Cool Sessions Band from St. John

December 29

Beginning at 8 p.m. In the Irmaria Stress Free Zone

Tribute to Kylo with Rock City, Pumpa, AJ, Jougo, Bugzbugs, Sisa, Big Shaw, Uncle Sas, BDJ, Rancho, Adam O, Kelly Jr., Blackest, Nikki Brooks, Stage Musik, Jubal, Rema, Monea, Th3rd, with a video tribute from Pressure Buss Pipe, Juggling by DJChubby and DJ Supa Tracks

December 30

Beginning at 8 p.m. In the Irmaria Stress Free Zone

The Venomous Poizon Band,

BDJ Band

December 31

Beginning at 8 p.m. In the Irmaria Stress Free Zone

Touch Promotions 2017 New Year Count down featuring various emerging local artists

January 1

Beginning at 8 p.m. In the Irmaria Stress Free Zone

Cultural Night 

Come for your Bush Tea, Cocoa Tea and treats.

With Quelbe Music and a Cultural Fashion show

January 2

Beginning at 8 p.m. In the Irmaria Stress Free Zone

Calypso Monarch Competition – 8 contenders vying for the Calypso King crown, or will Calypso Queen Caribbean Queen retain her crown?

Also, Country and Western night with Linus Modeste & Gozilay (I’m a born Lucian) straight from St. Lucia 

January 3

5 a.m. Jouvert from the Hannah’s Rest corner to the Village

12 noon The Food, Arts and Crafts Fair around the Eliza Mc Beam Clock Tower

Beginning at 8 p.m. In the Irmaria Stress Free Zone

Reggae Night

Revolutions Band, Jah Roni, Xkaliba, Mada Nile, King Dan, Fyah Train Band and Tarrus Riley

January 4

Beginning at 8 p.m. In the Irmaria Stress Free Zone

Soca Party Monarch Competition

January 5

Beginning at 8 p.m. In the Irmaria Stress Free Zone

Latin Night with the Liquid Sounds Band and Puerto Rican Power

January 6

The combined Children’s and Adult’s Parade starts at 10 a.m. from the Claude O. Markoe School and travels down King Street to the Viewing Stand in front of the Festival Village

Beginning at 8 p.m. in the Irmaria Stress Free Zone

International Night in the Village

Kess the Band and Destra from Trinidad and Tobago

Readers can keep up with all the festival events by logging on to their Facebook Page at Crucian Christmas Festival or at the website at www.stxfestival.com

Festival hashtags are #wegafestivalfever #stxfestivalfever #crucianchristmasfestival

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