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AGRIFEST PROMISES 3 DAYS OF FARM FARE AND FUN

Feb. 6, 2002 – More than 300 vendors are expected at this year's St. Croix Agriculture and Food Fair, now dubbed Agrifest.
The event runs Feb. 16-18 at the Agriculture Department in Estate Lower Love. The hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. all three days, and admission is $5 for adults, $3 for senior citizens and $2 for children.
The opening ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. Feb. 16. Special recognition awards will be given to Nick Vitali of Princess Market and Dr. Ralph de Chabert representing Sunny Isle Shopping Center for their contributions to agriculture in the territory.
Clarice Clarke of the University of the Virgin Islands Cooperative Extension Service said Vitali is being honored because he has consistently carried products from local farmers in his market. She said Sunny Isle Shopping Center, and in particular the late Mario de Chabert, has long supported the fair.
Farmer of the Year awards to a crop farmer and a livestock farmer will be made at the opening ceremony, too. The honorees are not being announced in advance.
The vendors will sell locally grown fruits, vegetables and plants; locally made food and drinks; and hand-made crafts. The main building will house the farmers' market along with school, youth group and Hovensa exhibits.
UVI exhibits will reflect the university's 40 years as an institution of higher learning and 30 years as a land-grant institution. Acquiring land-grant status allowed for the establishment of the Cooperative Extension Service and the Agricultural Experiment Station.
There also will be an exhibit to mark the national 4-H program's 100th anniversary this year. Clarke said 4-H has been active in the Virgin Islands since the 1950s.
The fun side of the fest will include an agri-game of chance called Cow Pie Bingo, in which people put down $5 in the hope that a bovine named Bubba does its business on a square bearing their number. Look for a lot of takers — the winner gets $1,000.
Other events include a youth cake competition, horseback and donkey cart rides, fish feeding, and various 4-H competitions involving horses and small animals. "This is the time to earn ribbons," Clarke said.
Pearl B. Larsen Elementary School students will decorate the Homestead house, show how to make native crafts and demonstrate traditional games played by children years ago.
There will be live music by Stanley and the Ten Sleepless Knights, Express Band and China Dan.
Feb. 17 will feature junior and senior calypso shows.
On the food front, Feb. 16 will bring a demonstration of how to make red grout, a tapioca-based guava pudding that dates to Danish times. On Feb. 17, there will be a demonstration of how to prepare doucana, a dumpling made with sweet potatoes and coconut.
UVI's Cooperative Extension Service and the V.I. Agriculture Department jointly sponsor the event. For more information, call 692-4060 or 778-0991.

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