July 8, 2003 – The territory's fiscal crisis demands sacrifices, and French Heritage Week is feeling the effects, Sen. Lorraine Berry said on Tuesday, announcing that the annual Bastille Day reception traditionally held at Government House has been called off.
"The administration said that they had no money; so, we decided to cancel it this year," Berry said.
Also due to financial constraints, the Miss French Heritage pageant was not held this year. "Roseanna Berry, who won the crown at last year's pageant, will continue to reign as Queen of French Heritage 2003," a release from Sen. Berry's office stated.
French Heritage Week is observed annuall on St. Thomas around Bastille Day, July 14, a French national holiday comparable to Americans' Fourth of July. On that date in 1789, Parisians stormed the notorious Bastille prison, setting off the French Revolution that would see the overthrow of King Louis XVI and an end to rule by the monarchy.
Despite the cutbacks this year, Berry, who is of French descent, said, "we still have many activities that we can attend."
One of them was on Monday night, a reception aboard the French naval frigate Le Ventose, which has called at St. Thomas previously. Berry said the guests and ship's complement of officers and crew enjoyed French wine, cheese and bread. Although many of the sailors could not speak English, she said, there were plenty of people available to serve as interpreters.
"It was nice to see a lot of people," Berry said.
Also as part of the week's activities, midshipmen of Le Ventose and local soccer players were to meet for a match at 5 p.m. Tuesday at the Charlotte Amalie High School athletic field.
There will be another reception on Wednesday evening around the pool at Best Western Emerald Beach Resort for the Friends of French Culture, an organization founded last year by Odile de Lyrot, the territory's honorary French consul, and guests. De Lyrot is hosting the event, from 6 to 8 p.m.
The week's traditional finale, the Northside Sportfishing Club's annual Bastille Day Kingfish Tournament at Hull Bay, is set for Sunday. In addition to fishing, the day's offerings include games, food, drink and music by Cool Session in the afternoon; and the awarding of prizes, more food and drink, and music by Sea Breeze at night. (See Bastille Day kingfish tourney ready to go.)
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