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V.I. and Puerto Rico to Celebrate 55 Years of Unity, Culture, and Friendship

Rosa-Leea Clarke, reigning VI-PR Friendship Queen.

Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico Friendship Committee 2019 has scheduled activities in the spirit of unity, culture and friendship at venues across St. Croix in October. The Cultural Food Fair and Family Fun Day will open Oct. 5, from 12 p.m. to 12 a.m. at the Luis A. Alicea Field of Dreams Ball Park. The Mirza Saldana-Lampe Friendship Village at David C. Canegata Park will open Oct. 11 and 12, at 7 p.m.

Puerto Rico-Virgin Islands Friendship Day has been celebrated since the 1960s with music and entertainment added each year to increase the festive mood. It is celebrated in conjunction with National Hispanic Heritage Month. This year the committee has collaborated with AARP of the Virgin Islands to celebrate with a musical experience at the Caravelle Hotel and Casino Oct. 4.

From 5:30-8:30 p.m. on Oct.4, AARP and the Christiansted Retail & Restaurant Association will celebrate Jazz in the Park with the Eddie Russell Band.

At Caravelle Hotel and Casino on the main stage DJ Ricky Sounds, El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico and Adam O will perform from 8 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.

On Oct.5, Stanley and the Ten Sleepless Knights and the Masqueraders will open the fair and invite the community to join in the food and fun extravaganza.

Reigning V.I.-P.R. Friendship Queen Rosa-Leea Clarke will highlight the 2019 activities. Clarke was crowned in September 2018 at Caravelle Hotel in Christiansted and she will reign over the friendship activities and be present at community events across the territory until October 2020.

The youth of the island will display their talents including the M.J. Martinez Bomba Group from Lew Muckle Elementary School. Quadrille dancers from Juanita Gardine and Lew Muckle Elementary Schools and the St. Croix Educational Complex High School will perform traditional Virgin Islands dances.

Latin and Caribbean cultural food and drinks will be available for sale throughout the day and evening.

Noemi Osorio will lead young people in arts and crafts activities, creating various toys and games using recycled materials. In addition, there will be tables with toys, jewelry, clothing, wood art objects and local arts and crafts for sale.

Bounce houses for the children and numerous games for both children and adults will be available. VIvi the Clown will keep the kids smiling with face painting.

Music will continue throughout the fair with The Young, Gifted, and Talented Band from the Mon BiJou Community Center. DJ Unlimited Sounds will also entertain with a musical mix.

The Guardians of Culture Moko Jumbies will dance and prance keeping the rhythm going.

The Mirza Saldana-Lampe Friendship Village opens Oct. 11 at 7 p.m. with Stanley and the Ten Sleepless Knights and the We Deh Yah Quadrille Dancers performing. Activities will continue throughout the evening until 12 a.m.

Vendors will be available with local food and drinks and arts and crafts for sale.

Mirza Saldana-Lampe

The Mirza Saldana-Lampe Friendship Village is named after a longtime committee member selected through the nomination and election process. Lampe has worked 37 years as an educator in the public school system. She is a quadrille teacher and dancer and a bomba dancer.

“I am so humbled by this honor,” said Lampe. “I like to be behind the scenes. It’s a wonderful feeling to be appreciated by your peers.”

The village will continue with the camaraderie and blending of cultures for a second day on Oct. 12 at 7 p.m. and will continue throughout the night with a full schedule of entertainment including the Moncho Rivera Salsa Band. The celebration will end with Grupo Mania from Puerto Rico closing the village.

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