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Black Empire’s “End of the Road” Secures Road March Title, Guava Tart Wins People’s Choice Award

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The dynamic Blackest of Black Empire. Image Courtesy of V.I. Consortium

The vibrant and culturally rich Crucian Christmas Festival Parade of 2023-2024 has officially declared its winners, showcasing the immense talent and competitive spirit of the participants.

In the Children’s Parade Troupe (under 50 members), TSK Children Troupe emerged as the champions, with CMC Arts and Lights on Connecting taking the first and second runner-up spots, respectively. For larger troupes with over 50 members, Juanita Gardine School triumphed, and Pearl B. Larsen School followed as the first runner-up.

Individual performances in the Children’s Parade didn’t go unnoticed. “An Ode to My Ancestors” bagged the win in the individual category. The St. Croix Majorettes scooped the first place in both the Children’s Parade Majorette and Moko Jumbies segments, while 175 Emancipation secured the Moko Jumbies title. The Rising Stars Steel Orchestra was lauded as the Children’s Parade Steel Pan winner.

The Adult Parade featured a diverse range of winners across different categories. Gentleman of Jones clinched the Floupe title for groups under 100, followed by Reveling Masqueraders. In the Adult Troupe (under 100 members) category, TSK took the top spot, ahead of Gallows Barians and Caribbean Revelers. The St. Croix Majorettes and Guardians of Culture claimed victories in the Adult Majorette and Adult Moko Jumbies categories, respectively.

In the Adult Parade Steel Pan competition, the Rising Stars Steel Orchestra repeated their winning streak. The coveted Road March title was awarded to Black Empire for their electrifying performance of “End of the Road.”

Adding to the list of accolades, Guava Tart received the USVI Festivals & Viya’s People’s Choice Award for their remarkable contribution to the festival’s success.

This announcement wraps up the competitive aspect of the festival, highlighting the diverse and imaginative talents of the participants. Their contributions have significantly enriched the cultural landscape of the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Department of Tourism and the Division of Festivals extend heartfelt congratulations to all the winners and participants for making this parade season a resounding success.

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Vibrant Troupes and Local Bands Shine at 70th St. John Celebration

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The streets of Cruz Bay came alive with music and festivity as the 70th St. John Celebration parade unfolded on Thursday. Spectators eagerly lined the roadsides, witnessing masqueraders in feathered and bejeweled costumes dancing behind trucks that carried popular local bands.

Virgin Islanders from across the territory gathered in St. John to join the Celebration. Among the highlights were five troupes from St. Thomas, unified under the “What-Ah-Real-Epic-Allure Mas & Posh” banner, along with the St. Thomas majorettes.

St. John’s own troupes were also prominently featured. L’Amour depicted the “Rize of the Phoenix” with fiery yellow costumes, while Diamonds and Gems dazzled in a vibrant rainbow of colors. Cameras captured Lt. Governor Tregenza Roach enjoying the festivities with members of the Gypsies troupe. The children of the St. John School of the Arts delighted the crowd with a mini-Broadway performance. The Elskoe and Associates troupe impressed with their portrayal of “Carnival is Royalty and Splendor,” showcasing elaborate costumes in red, purple, and gold.

Local Carnival royalty graced the event, with the reigning Prince and Princess, Jr. Miss, and Miss St. John making appearances.

The celebration continued even after the last troupes exited the square. Spectators moved to the Cruz Bay harbor to enjoy a spectacular fireworks display, capping off the 2024 St. John Celebration in style.

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St. Croix to Host Vibrant Mango Melee and Tropical Fruit Festival on July 7

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The annual Mango Melee and Tropical Fruit Festival is set to enchant attendees on Sunday, July 7 at the St. George Village Botanical Garden on St. Croix. This vibrant summer event is dedicated to fostering a deeper appreciation for tropical fruits, particularly the esteemed mango. The festival aims to educate attendees on growing tropical fruits and exploring their diverse uses.

Celebrating the “Queen of Tropical Fruit,” the mango, the festival promises a plethora of activities. Visitors can look forward to workshops, demonstrations, tastings, vendor booths, contests, and plenty of social interactions, ensuring a fun-filled day for everyone.

Last year’s event was a bustling success, highlighted by Yasmine Tuitt, 14, who defended her title and won the Mango Eating Competition for the second consecutive year at the 27th annual Mango Melee. Tuitt’s victory was a significant moment in a day filled with community spirit and mango celebration.

In the children’s category, 9-year-old Anita Thomas claimed the top spot in the Mango Eating Competition, earning a $30 Sorbetiere Ice Cream coupon and $50 gift certificates to both Nate’s Boat House and Grapetree Bay.

The Mango Melee has grown into a cherished community event, celebrating mangoes while supporting local vendors. Last year, vendors showcased an array of mango-inspired delights, including mango pineapple salsa, mango rum, mango sweet chili sauce, mango cheesecake cups, mango ice cream, mango grilled chicken, and mango summer rolls.

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Margaret Sayer Honored at St. John Celebration for Decades of Dedication

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ST. JOHN — On a bright Sunday afternoon, the 2024 St. John Celebration continued with its annual food fair, marking a milestone 70th year of festivities. This year, the celebration honored a special community pillar, Margaret Sayer, for her unwavering volunteer work and contributions since the event’s inception in 1954.

The St. John Celebration, renowned for its vibrant cultural events, includes an array of activities such as pageants, boat races, and the highly anticipated food fair. This year, the Division of Festivals chose to recognize individuals who exemplify the island’s rich cultural heritage. Margaret Sayer, celebrated as the Food Fair Honoree, has been instrumental in the event’s success over the decades, helping to shape the festivities that locals and visitors alike enjoy today​ (CaribMagPlus)​​ (Travel And Tour World)​.

Commissioner Joseph Boschulte of the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism expressed his enthusiasm for this year’s lineup, which began on June 8 with the Pan-O-Rama and will continue throughout the month. The festival aims to showcase the deep cultural history of St. John, culminating in grand parades and a spectacular fireworks display on July 4th​ (The Virgin Islands Consortium)​​ (St. Thomas Source)​.

Director of Festivals Ian Turnbull highlighted the significance of recognizing community figures like Sayer. “Her dedication and efforts have been pivotal in preserving and promoting our cultural traditions,” he noted, underscoring the importance of such acknowledgments in maintaining the festival’s vibrant spirit.

The St. John Celebration not only celebrates the island’s heritage but also honors its people, making it a cornerstone event in the U.S. Virgin Islands’ cultural calendar. This year’s festivities promise to be a colorful and cultural jamboree, reflecting the island’s enduring legacy and community pride.

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