The green hills of UVI's Reichhold Center for the Arts will be alive not just with the sound of music but more importantly, with the bounty of local farmers, arts and crafts, and food.
The 29th St. Thomas-St. John Agriculture and Food Fair runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, following the theme of “Agriculture: Key to Improving Our Economy."
The opening ceremony, set for 2 p.m. will feature remarks by UVI President David Hall and Agriculture Commissioner Louis Petersen, while radio personality and UVI alumnus Rashidi Clenance will be master of ceremonies.
New this year is what's being called a "Quick Tank" demonstration. It features an aquaculture system developed at UVI's St. Croix campus that grows tilapia, whose effluent provides nutrients for vegetables grown hydroponically in the waste water.
Also new this year is coal pot lighting contest. And, in a sign of the times, young people are invited to show their prowess with new technology – in a texting contest.
For something a bit more significant locally, contestants are still being sought for the best tasting maubi and ital competitions.
Of course, the fair also will be brimming with all the good things it is known for: pies, cakes, fresh eggs, all manner of produce, pates and plants. The aisles will be filled with jams, jellies, stewed pork, maubi and other local drinks, sweetbreads, tarts and pumpkins.
And don't overlook the animals. Chicks and geese and ducks and all manner of critters will be scurrying around the livestock displays, available for petting. And for those too big to pet, some of the territory's prize animals will be there for the cameras.
As always, workshops on gardening, composting, tree grafting and most any other agricultural activity will be available, along with long with farmers showing their prize hibiscus, bougainvillea, fruit trees.
The UVI Cooperative Extension Service 4-H Program will conduct a food drive on both days. Attendees are encouraged to bring canned and dried food items to contribute. Food collected will be donated through Catholic Charities and the Salvation Army.
Music will be provided by DJ Ubba and Ah We Band, and dancing by the St. Thomas Heritage Dancers. Children’s games will be held daily from 12:30 to 5 p.m. Admission is $3 for adults and $1 for children under 12 years.
The Fair is sponsored by the University of the Virgin Islands Cooperative Extension Service (CES) and the Virgin Islands Department of Agriculture, with support from Fintrac.