Feb. 2, 2004 – St. Croix's 33rd annual Agricultural and Food Fair, set for Feb. 14-16, has as its theme "V.I. Agriculture: An Open Door in 2004."
The fair is touted as the third-largest annual event in the Virgin Islands, after V.I. Carnival and Crucian Christmas Festival, with more than 12,000 people a day passing though its gates.
This year's fair honors the hard work and dedication of former assistant commissioner of Agriculture Eric "Larry" Bough.
The fair, a family affair with enticements for young and old, features three main attractions:
– The Farmers Market, where vegetables, herbs, plants, fruit trees and other kinds of native plants are sold.
– The Livestock Pavilion, where farmers display their cattle, goats, sheep and other farm animals.
– The Food Pavilion, where some of the territory's finest cooks serve native foods and drinks.
Producing this event is an undertaking of mass proportions. Agriculture Commissioner Laurence Lewis and his staff have been hard at work on final preparations. "The fairgrounds encompass about 28 acres," Lewis said. There are about 60 Agriculture employees on St. Croix, and at fair time the department hires an additional 10 persons to spruce up the grounds.
"There will be about 50 farmers selling their wares, about 80 exhibits, 40 refreshment booths and 40 food vendors," Lewis said. He added that more than 150 picnic benches "will be placed around the grounds for people to relax in the shade."
Lewis stressed that the fair's focus is on traditional cultural offerings — with "no alcohol, no carbonated beverages, no advertising of products." And T-shirt vendors "cannot sell items depicting illegal or immoral designs."
Despite the crowds, "the fair is a safe place to be," Lewis said, noting that his department works closely with the Police Department.
Schedule of fair activities
Here are just some of the daily events:
Saturday, Feb. 14
9 a.m. – fair gates open to the public
10 a.m. – opening ceremonies
Fair Wear Competition
Dance hall and freestyle competitions
Music by Lashing Dogs, St. Croix Heritage Dancers, steelbands, the Gravity Band, Stanley and the Ten Sleepless nights.
Sunday, Feb. 15
10 a.m. – gospel program
Junior and Senior Calypso Shows
Music by a steelband, D.J. Myron, Native Rhythm Band, Lashing Dogs and Digital Band
Monday, Feb. 15
Music by St. Croix Road March champions Xtaushan Band, Star Lion Family, Noel Band, Dem Boys Band, D.J. Myron, Fusion Band, West End Masqueraders, Jamesie and Friends.
There also will be daily food competitions and demonstrations, Shetland pony rides, exhibits by several St. Croix schools, health screenings and demonstrations of such things as horse training and how to make gooseberry ice cream and ginger beer.
Fair hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. all three days Admission to the grounds is $2 for children, $3 for seniors and $5 for everybody else.
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