June 30, 2003 – Monday was Lambert "Fuzzy" Christian's night to shine as speaker after speaker at the opening of the July 4th Celebration village, named Christianville in his honor, paid him homage.
"He used to wear a big, fuzzy hat. That's how he got his name," Sen. Almando "Rocky" Liburd said, as dozens of people gathered in the Cruz Bay parking lot for the event.
Liburd said that Christian often spent the night at his booth in the St. John carnival village before cleaning up the town as part of his Public Works Department job.
Christian proved himself a man of many words as he talked about the July 4th Celebration's early years. "We sat there under the tree by the dock," he began, talking about how everyone danced all night to guitar and squash music.
He said that the first queen earned her title by selling the most tickets, and that the day included a boat race from Coki Point on St. Thomas to Cruz Bay.
And in those early days, when it was all over, if he didn't have a donkey, he had to walk home to Coral Bay.
Caneel Bay Resort's general manager, Brian Young, pointed out that Christian started working at the resort three years before it opened in 1956 and stayed there for 15 years. Then he moved to Public Works.
For many years from the time of the first July 4th Celebration in 1954, Christian had a booth at the village. Then, as now, people came out to socialize.
"It's the camaraderie. It gives me the opportunity to see people and share old-time stories," Leslie Smith said Monday evening, taking a break from shooting the breeze with fellow St. John resident Sam Morch.
While St. John folks were out in force, plenty more hopped the ferries from St. Thomas to enjoy a night out in Cruz Bay. "We're limin'," St. Thomas resident Corrine Van Rensselaer said, taking in the sights with her daughter, Skye, 12.
Tourists also were out and about. Paduxent Park, Maryland, resident Melissa McGuinness, relaxing with her husband and three children and her mother-in-law, St. John librarian Carol McGuinness, said she enjoys the steelpan music and the "kids on the stilts."
Elmgrove, Wisconsin, resident Sue Taken, listening to the Love City Pan Dragons ping out some tunes, also was enticed by the steelpan sounds. "And we like to try different foods and watch people," she said.
Publisher's note : Like the St. John Source now? Find out how you can love us twice as much — and show your support for the islands' free and independent news voice … click here.