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Rapidly Organized KidsVille Debuts at Festival Village, Quickly Becomes a Hit

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In a remarkable display of community spirit and efficient collaboration, the first-ever children’s village, named KidsVille, debuted at the Crucian Christmas Festival Village on Wednesday night. This event, which quickly became a hit, was the brainchild of West Gyul, a popular Facebook page dedicated to showcasing the positive aspects of the St. Croix community.

The genesis of KidsVille came about after the negotiations between the Division of Festivals and the St. Croix Calypso Committee collapsed. Faced with this challenge, the West Gyul team joined forces with the Division of Festivals, and impressively, they managed to organize the event in less than a week.

The outcome was nothing short of spectacular. KidsVille was met with overwhelming positivity, evident from the numerous Facebook posts applauding the event and advocating for it to become a permanent fixture of the Crucian Christmas Festival.

The event was a feast of kid-friendly activities. It featured performances from various groups, including Moko Jumbies, quadrille dancers, fire dancers, and folkloric presentations. In addition, activities like kids Zumba, face painting, and specially designed photo areas added to the charm of the evening. The existing amusement park at the village further enhanced the festive atmosphere.

The West Gyul page, overwhelmed by the successful realization of their idea, expressed their gratitude on Facebook: “Can yall believe our community pull off #kidsvilleindehvillage in three days. It was my idea but y’all make it a reality!!!”

Gjoe Carrion, reflecting on the event’s success, praised the collaborative spirit that transformed the idea from a Facebook post to reality. He highlighted the efficiency and dedication that West Gyul demonstrated in executing the plan. “Kidsville was an amazing event and I am glad I was able to be a part of it… May this be the start of something great for many years to come. Congratulations on your success,” he said.

KidsVille’s debut stands as a testament to what a community can achieve when it comes together, embodying the spirit of cooperation, swift action, and a shared commitment to the joy and well-being of children.

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Traditions and Customs of the Virgin Islands: How They Are Preserved

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The U.S. Virgin Islands, comprising St. Thomas, St. John, and St. Croix, boast a rich tapestry of traditions and customs that reflect the islands’ diverse history and cultural influences. The preservation of these traditions is essential to maintaining the unique identity of the islands and is achieved through various cultural practices, festivals, culinary arts, and historical conservation efforts.

Vibrant Festivals and Cultural Celebrations

One of the most vibrant ways the Virgin Islands preserve their traditions is through annual festivals such as Carnival. Carnival is celebrated on each of the main islands at different times of the year: April in St. Thomas, June-July in St. John, and December-January in St. Croix. This grand event fuses African, European, and Caribbean customs, featuring colorful parades, elaborate costumes, calypso music, and traditional dances such as the quadrille and the bamboula. These festivities not only celebrate the islands’ heritage but also educate younger generations about their cultural roots​.

Culinary Traditions

Food plays a pivotal role in the cultural preservation of the Virgin Islands. Traditional dishes like kallaloo (a stew made from leafy greens, okra, and various meats or seafood) and fungi (a cornmeal-based dish) are staples in local cuisine. These recipes have been passed down through generations, often prepared during special occasions and festivals. Additionally, local markets and family-run restaurants serve these traditional foods, ensuring that both locals and visitors can experience the authentic flavors of the islands​.

Storytelling and Oral Traditions

The art of storytelling remains a vital part of the cultural landscape in the Virgin Islands. This tradition, rooted in African heritage, involves narrating tales that incorporate historical events, folklore, and superstitions. Storytelling sessions often feature “jumbies” (spirits of the deceased) and are used to impart moral lessons and keep the oral history alive. During Carnival, for instance, performers dressed as “Mocko Jumbies” on stilts engage the audience with their vibrant costumes and stories​.

Music and Dance

Music and dance are integral to the Virgin Islands’ cultural expression. Quelbe, also known as Fungi music, is a traditional genre that combines African rhythms with Caribbean melodies. This music style is performed using instruments made from everyday objects, reflecting the resourcefulness of the islanders. Dance forms like the quadrille, which originated in Europe, have been adapted to include local elements, making them unique to the Virgin Islands. Cultural performances by local dance companies and music groups are common, showcasing these traditional art forms​.

Historical Preservation

Efforts to preserve the physical heritage of the Virgin Islands are evident in the conservation of historical sites and buildings. Forts such as Fort Christian on St. Thomas and Fort Christiansvaern on St. Croix serve as museums that narrate the islands’ colonial history. Additionally, plantation museums and the ruins of sugar mills on estates like Estate Whim on St. Croix and Annaberg on St. John offer insights into the agricultural past of the islands. These sites are meticulously maintained to educate the public about the historical and cultural significance of the Virgin Islands​​.

Religious and Social Customs

Religious celebrations, such as Three Kings’ Day, are public holidays in the Virgin Islands, reflecting the islands’ Christian heritage. This day commemorates the visit of the three wise men to the infant Jesus and is celebrated with family feasts and gift-giving traditions. Such religious and social customs are integral to community life and help preserve the cultural identity of the islands​ ​.

In conclusion, the U.S. Virgin Islands maintain their rich traditions and customs through a combination of vibrant festivals, culinary arts, storytelling, music, dance, historical preservation, and religious observances. These efforts ensure that the cultural heritage of the islands is not only remembered but also actively celebrated and passed on to future generations.

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Virgin Islands Paté Festival: A Celebration of Culture, Community, and Cuisine

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The Virgin Islands Paté Festival, now in its second year, has quickly become a cherished event in St. Croix, celebrating the rich culinary traditions and vibrant culture of the region. Held at the Agricultural Fairgrounds, this year’s festival promises a day filled with family-friendly activities, live music, and, of course, a variety of delicious patés.

The festival, which runs from 1:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on June 22, is organized by SMT Enterprise and Laced Legacy. It aims to provide a fun and safe environment for attendees of all ages. Admission fees are modest, with children aged 6-12 and seniors 65 and up paying $5, adults aged 13-64 paying $10, and children under 5 entering for free​​.

Patés, a beloved local delicacy, take center stage at this festival. These savory pastries are known for their crispy, crunchy dough filled with a variety of delicious fillings such as beef, chicken, saltfish, conch, or vegetables. The festival offers attendees the opportunity to sample different paté creations from various vendors, ensuring a unique culinary experience​.

In addition to food, the festival will feature live performances by local bands such as No Problemo, The TSK (Ten Sleepless Knights), and R&B artist Deri. Soca artist PUMPA and DJ Lips International will also be performing, creating a lively atmosphere throughout the day. The Guardians of Culture Moko Jumbies, known for their stilt-walking performances, will entertain the crowd with their skills​.

One of the festival highlights is the Best Paté Competition, where judges will sample and evaluate patés in categories like meat, seafood, and veggie. Winners will receive trophies, prizes, and bragging rights. There will also be a People’s Choice award for the best paté, in honor of the late Rosalia Ayala, a celebrated local chef known for her exceptional patés. This award allows festival-goers to vote for their favorite vendor, adding an interactive element to the event​.

Craft vendors will also be present, offering a range of local goods, and there will be numerous attractions for children. The festival aims to support the local community and businesses, with sponsors including Viya, Neighborhood Pharmacy, and the Department of Tourism, among others​​.

The Virgin Islands Paté Festival not only celebrates a beloved culinary tradition but also fosters community spirit and cultural pride. With its diverse offerings and inclusive environment, the festival is poised to become a staple event in the Virgin Islands, eagerly anticipated by locals and visitors alike.

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2nd Annual Virgin Islands Paté Festival Set to Delight with Food, Fun, and Culture

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SMT Enterprise and Laced Legacy warmly invite the community to the 2nd annual Virgin Islands Paté Festival, a celebration of the cherished cultural delicacy, Paté. The family-friendly event, scheduled for June 22 from 1:00 pm to 9:00 pm, promises a safe and entertaining atmosphere for vendors and attendees of all ages.

Admission and Activities

The festival offers affordable admission: $5 for children aged 6-12 and seniors 65 and up, and $10 for adults aged 13-64. Children under 5 can attend for free. This fee provides access to a day packed with activities and culinary delights.

Culinary Highlights

A highlight of the event is the array of Paté-making demonstrations by skilled vendors, offering attendees the chance to sample diverse Paté varieties. Alongside Patés, food vendors will serve a range of cultural dishes to enhance the culinary experience.

Entertainment Lineup

Festival-goers can enjoy performances by live bands such as No Problemo, The TSK (Ten Sleepless Knights), R&B artist Deri, and Caribbean Soca star PUMPA. DJ Lips International, Deh Brand, Bootlegacy, and MC Bogle will keep the energy high with a blend of contemporary and classic tunes. The Guardians of Culture Moko Jumbies will also entertain with their impressive stilt-dancing skills.

Competitions and Awards

The festival will host a Best Paté Competition, where judges will evaluate Patés in categories including meat, seafood, and veggie, with winners receiving trophies, prizes, and bragging rights. Additionally, the People’s Choice award will honor the best Paté, commemorating the late Rosalia Ayala, affectionately known as Rosa, who was a beloved figure in the Whim neighborhood. Attendees can vote for their favorite Paté vendor, and the winner will be decided by popular vote.

Acknowledgments

Special thanks go to the festival sponsors: Viya, Neighborhood Pharmacy, Twin City Dental & Dr. Chase Greep, Department of Tourism, Cruzan Rum, Virgin Islands National Guard, West Gyul, Doc’s Pepper Tonic, IB Designs, Virgin Islands Energy Office, Blue Mountain Water, East Gyul, Epok Signs & Banners, Island Thyme Charters, Hooked On Life Charters, FoodTown, Department of Agriculture, Plaza Extra East, Jelani Ritter, Das Ya Car Rental, WSTX Radio AM 970/FM 100.3, Crucian Gold, and Titan Gas Station.

Join in the festivities and experience a day filled with food, fun, and cultural enrichment at the 2nd annual Virgin Islands Paté Festival.

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