Feb. 5, 2003 – This year's V.I. Carnival on St. Thomas will celebrate the age of elegance, blend Latin and calypso music on a live sound stage, return to Emancipation Garden for the annual food fair and, all in all, take a "Journey through a Cultural Door for Carnival 2004."
The V.I. Carnival Committee's longtime chair, Kenneth Blake, and its executive director, Caswil Callender, hosted a press conference on Wednesday morning at the committee headquarters to present the schedule and discuss organizational issues.
"This year's carnival is going to be unique and hard," Blake said. "We had to make some hard decisions when we get to the schedule."
After taking a look at which events were most successful last year, they said, the committee decided:
– To make the annual Miss V.I. American Classic pageant for contestants ages 60 and up a part of the carnival festivities.
– To convert the popular Latin Night, held for the last three years, into a new Latin and Calypso Music Night.
– To limit the Junior Calypso competition to 15 or 20 performers so the event doesn't run too late on a school night.
– To keep the Carnival Food Fair at Emancipation Garden. After last year's collapse of the bungalow in Rothschild Francis "Market" Square, which has yet to be rebuilt, the event was moved from the square to Emancipation Garden. Historians said the park had been the original site for the event, and fairgoers and vendors alike pronounced themselves pleased with the change of venue.
– To hold the traditional international Calypso Revue on just one night instead of on two nights, as has long been the practice.
Popular events scheduled to continue include the Toddlers Derby, Dressed as a Doll competition, Traditional Games, Carnival showcase at Roy L. Schneider Hosptial, Culture Night featuring the King and Queen of the Bands competitions, Steelband Jamboree, watersports races on the waterfront, and the pre-teen and senior citizen tramps from Market Square to Carnival Village.
Last year, the committee changed the named of the ever-popular pre-dawn J'Ouvert tramp to Roas-A-Time. That change remains in effect for 2004.
And again this year, the night-time entertainment following the Adults Parade will be a Calypso Spectakula in Carnival Village. The event made its debut last year in place of the traditional harbor fireworks, last held for the 50th anniversary celebration in 2002.
This year, Carnival Village is being dubbed "Freddy's Calypso Kingdom" in tribute to Alfred Lockhart, who chaired the Carnival Committee from 1972 to 1983.
And the Food Fair will be christened "Stanley's Candyland" in honor of longtime pastry- and candymaker Stanley Leonard.
Blake also said the committee has decided to hire an auditor. Although it's not legally required, he said, the action was taken "because because a lot of people in the community were complaining about the Carnival Committee. Even some senators were complaining about auditing; they went as far as suggesting we have the Inspector General audit us."
He continued: "We had an audit done about 10 years ago, and we decided it's time to have another one. So, we engaged the services of Benjamin and Associates." He said after the auditors go through the books, they will "tell us what we're doing wrong, if we're doing anything wrong." Blake pledged that copies of the audit report will be provided to the legislators.
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