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Saturday, December 3, 2022


July 5, 2002 – As the tricolor flies over Frenchtown for Bastille Day on July 14, the community will celebrate the annual event — with lots of music, lots of food and lots of dignitaries — as a fund-raiser for the long-awaited Frenchtown Museum.
Alan Richardson, event chair and a voluble voice of the community, said food will be on sale this year to help raise funds for the museum, which will be in the old Olive-Bernier Clinic building adjacent to the Joseph Aubain Ballpark parking lot. Festivities start at 5 p.m.
In January, the Frenchtown Civic Organization, which has sponsored Bastille Day activities for 40 years, got approval from the 24th Legislature to lease the property for a $1 a year. Richardson said all the permits for renovations to the structure are finally in place, and the work can begin. A top priority is a new roof, since Hurricane Marilyn made off with the last one, but Richardson acknowledged it won't be up by Bastille Day.
In an effort to bring the younger generation into the festivities, Richardson said, his niece, Cindy Richardson, 26, will be mistress of ceremonies. She will introduce the dignitaries — Gov. Charles W. Turnbull, Sen. Lorraine Berry and honorary French Consul Odile de Lyrot are expected — along with local celebrities. In addition to her uncle chairing the Bastille Day committee, her dad, Henry Richardson, is the FTCO president.
Although July 14 for the French community these days mainly signals a celebration of the birth of the French republic, it was not always so. Anthony Quetel, the late "Mayor of Frenchtown" and proprietor of the late Bar Normandie, customarily invited the entire island to share drinks with him on the date, which happened to be his birthday, and all came, including the Community Band. Quetel would have been 94 this year.
For this year's observance, the 31-piece V.I. National Guard Band will kick off at 5 p.m., to be followed two hours later by the Sea Breeze band, which will play "until."
The food sale will feature "Rejuvenation Soup" — and there's no hint as to the ingredients. The rest of the menu is less ambiguous, including roast pig, chicken, roast goat, potato stuffing, lobster, chili, conch and shark balls.
Alan Richardson said a number of items already have been donated to the FTCO for display in the museum. It will feature anything everything old and French, he said, including musical instruments, art, cutlery, china, paintings and photographs.
He asked that those planning to make contributions hold on to them until the organization comes up with storage space. And he said more fund-raisers are being planned for later this year.

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