March 6, 2005 – Not all the best cooks on the island are well-known chefs. Some are just culinary geniuses to their families and friends until Afternoon on the Green rolls around. That's when anyone can come out to the grounds of the Herman E. Moore Golf Course at University of the Virgin Islands and sample some of the best food in the territory.
The numbers were big this year–2000 people feasted on more than 150 dishes in seven categories. Partygoers bought tickets at $2 a piece, and were set loose to choose from main dishes, side dishes, soups, casseroles, breads, pastries and desserts, and native drinks. Another big number for the day was 16, for the year of the festival, which had the theme "Sixteen on the Green, Make it Sweet,"
"We term it as a 'friendraiser,'" said Gail Steele, chairperson of Afternoon on the Green. "It's a family fun day with food and music."
The Starlites Band entertained the crowd at large, while Kids Entertainment Company had a presence in the children's corner. Children enjoyed face painting, coloring contests, a touch pool, a giant bouncy castle and games.
But of course, it's the food that gets them through the gates. For $2 a taste, participants walked down rows and rows of steaming serving dishes, one holding something more delectable than the last. From noon until 2 p.m., diners judged the dishes they ate. Results will be tallied and announced later in the week.
"It's an opportunity for local chefs or family cooks to bring out a dish and showcase it," said Steele. "I know a lot of people have a sweet tooth, so the pastry corner does well. But the rest of the stuff goes quick too."
UVI faculty and staff were on hand in the academic tent, promoting programs and working on recruiting new students.
Organizers were pleased about the sunny weather this year. "Last year it rained all day, but people came and ate under the tents. We're glad they can enjoy the area this year," said Steele.
Cooks donate the food, West Indian Company, Ltd. partners with UVI for the event, and Coca Cola is a sponsor. All the money raised goes to scholarships for current or future UVI students.
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