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Crucian Christmas Festival Date Reinstated to December 26th after Community Outcry

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ST. CROIX – The Division of Festivals, yielding to a strong wave of opposition from St. Croix residents, has declared a return to the cherished traditional date of December 26th for the opening of the Crucian Christmas Festival.

Shamari Haynes, the Assistant Director for the St. Croix District’s Division of Festivals, underlined the indispensable role of community feedback. He stated, “The Crucian Christmas Festival’s planning is not monopolized by a single person or entity. It’s a symbiotic relationship between us and the local committee. Recognizing the community’s sentiments, we’ve adapted certain events to mirror the historically significant dates of the Crucian Christmas Festival.”

In an unforeseen move, the celebrations were initially rescheduled to January 1, 2024. For many residents, this was a jarring shift from the age-old practice of initiating the Festival Village on December 26th, just a day post-Christmas. Division of Festivals officials had formerly explained this modification as a tactic to increase the territorial festivals’ appeal, even though other venues such as St. Thomas and St. John experienced a decline in their festival durations.

Such reasoning, however, didn’t find favor among the local community. The backlash against the January 1st inauguration intensified on various digital platforms. In light of this, the decision to revert promises to alleviate local concerns.

In addition, the Division of Festivals has given attendees a glimpse of the festival’s main attractions. Celebrated performers like Patrice Roberts, Ricardo Dru, Mr. Killa, Destra, Blind Earz, and Karnage have been verified, with more star-studded announcements on the horizon.

Updated Crucian Christmas Festival Schedule:

  • December 26th: Village Inception with Coney Island Rides, Vendor Stalls, and the Duchess, Prince, Princess, Jr Miss Pageant.
  • December 27th: Calypso Monarch.
  • December 28th: Miss St. Croix Festival Queen Pageant.
  • December 29th: Village Grand Launch – International Cultural Evening.
  • December 30th: Soca Monarch.
  • December 31st: New Year’s Eve Gala.
  • January 1st: LATIN NIGHT Showcase.
  • January 2nd: Sweet Melanin (Women’s Night).
  • January 3rd: Ag Fair Grounds Food, Arts & Crafts Expo & UberSoca Evening.
  • January 4th: J’ouvert Festivities & Lovers and Friends Night.
  • January 5th: Children’s Parade & Band-O-Rama Concert.
  • January 6th: Grand Adult Parade & AfroSoca Evening.

Elaborating on recent adjustments, Mr. Haynes shared that in the spirit of enhancing the Crucian Christmas Festival’s allure, some Village Night names underwent changes. The evening that was previously synonymous with reggae performances, known as Reggae Night, has been revamped to ‘Lovers and Friends’. Moreover, to diversify the cultural spectrum, ‘Latin Night’ has been added to the roster. Mr. Haynes concluded, “These adjustments aim to enhance our festival’s branding while celebrating a wider range of musical genres and cultural nuances.”

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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 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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71st Annual Crucian Christmas Festival: A Record-Breaking Celebration of Culture

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The Virgin Islands Department of Tourism, in a collaborative effort with the Division of Festivals, recently wrapped up the 71st edition of the Crucian Christmas Festival. This event, a highlight on St. Croix’s calendar, spanned twelve days starting December 26, immersing attendees in the island’s vibrant cultural heritage.

The festival kicked off in Frederiksted Village, showcasing an array of events. Highlights included the Prince, Princess, Dutch, and Duchess Show, the Queen Pageant, and the Soca Monarch competition. A new addition this year was the Kid Ville event, specifically designed for young attendees to have their own night of celebration.

December 29 marked the start of the International Cultural Night, featuring seven nights of free concerts. The lineup brought together local and international artists such as Cool Session, Charlie Aponte, and Destra. The festival also introduced the much-anticipated ‘war of tarts’ at the annual Food Fair on Frederiksted Pier, with guava emerging as the favored flavor.

Record-breaking attendance was noted during the J’ouvert, Children’s and Adults Parades, a testament to the festival’s growing popularity. Participants showcased the Caribbean heritage of the island with vibrant costumes, music, and dance.

Joseph Boschulte, Commissioner of the Department of Tourism, lauded the festival’s success and community involvement. He commended the Division of Festivals for elevating the event, making it a benchmark for cultural celebrations.

The festival concluded with a spectacular fireworks display and Uber Soca Night at Frederiksted Village. International AfroBeats star Davido and Soca Performer of the Year Mr. Killa headlined the closing event.

Ian Turnbull, Director of Festivals, praised the festival’s showcase of culture, from the pageantry to the culinary delights.

The Department of Tourism and Division of Festivals thanked partner agencies, including the V.I. Police Department, the V.I. Department of Public Works, and others, for their support in ensuring a safe and memorable festival experience.

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Vibrant Children’s Parade Charms Leaders and Public at St. Croix Christmas Festival

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The St. Croix Crucian Christmas Festival’s Children’s Parade recently brought a vibrant spectacle to the streets, marked by a kaleidoscope of music, dance, moko jumbies, and youthful royalty, receiving high praise from organizers and leaders across the territory.

Grand Marshall Michelle Smith, a celebrated young local athlete, inaugurated the parade, which showcased a variety of school and community groups. These troupes captivated onlookers, including key figures from the territorial government. Governor Albert Bryan Jr., speaking with the Consortium, expressed delight at the strong participation in the festival’s various events, including concerts and competitions.

Senator Donna Frett-Gregory lauded the impressive turnout and commended the dedication of the participating children. Senator Novelle Francis Jr. extended gratitude to the Division of Festivals and the V.I. Police Department for ensuring the festival’s safety and success.

The procession was further embellished by festival royalty, including monarchs from numerous elementary and high schools, with representatives from St. Thomas. Junior Miss of the Festival, 16-year-old Alayah Watley, plans to leverage her title to promote American Sign Language in St. Croix through her “Read Between the Signs” initiative.

From the audience, Lieutenant Governor Tregenza Roach shared his enthusiasm with the Consortium, praising the high energy of the festival and acknowledging the parade’s contributors for preserving these cultural traditions. He particularly celebrated the troupe leaders and participants for their inspirational roles.

Highlighting the event were the St. Croix Majorettes, recently recognized by the V.I. Legislature and celebrating their 50th anniversary. Carol Burke, chair of the territorial Emancipation Committee, represented a St. Thomas troupe commemorating the 175th anniversary of emancipation. She called for increased parental involvement and a return to family-centric community values.

Concluding on Saturday with the Adults Parade and the final Village night, the festival, as described by Lieutenant Governor Roach, offers a platform for Crucians to demonstrate their rich talents, character, and culture to the world, transcending the territory’s modest size.

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