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Fair Highlights V.I. Culture

April 1, 2005 – As many V.I. residents were remembering the past and looking to the future on Transfer Day, many others were enjoying the here and now submersed in rich cultural offerings of local cuisine, crafts and music.
The first Cultural Fair, spearheaded by the Committee to Revive Our Culture, was held Thursday afternoon at Emancipation Garden. The committee members hoped to bring awareness to local culture, while transferring their knowledge to the younger generation.
"The native culture is slipping away real fast," committee member Glenn Kwabena Davis, who emceed the event, said. "The matter of convenience is taking over. You do not find a lot of things local people do because it's considered old time. The craft that identifies our culture continues to be brought forward."
Koko and the Sunshine Band kicked things off at noon, and then crowds were entertained by Rising Stars Youth Steel Orchestra. Later, the Henry Ford Community College Band from Dearborn, Mich. jazzed things up. Kevin Dewey, vocal music director of the band expressed his love for the V.I. culture.
"The best part is the people. They are relaxed, laid back and friendly. It's a little more hectic where we are," said Dewey, who also enjoyed the local musical performances. Dewey even had the opportunity to try his hand playing steel pan, which he said was "an eye opening experience."
In addition to the entertainment, two dozen booths were set up offering everything from jewelry, to soap, to lobster in butter sauce and whelks. Everything offered at the Cultural Fair had to be locally made.
"We have a tourist economy. Cultural tourism is not being promoted the way it should be," Davis said. "You must involve the people, because tourists come to see what is different from where they're at."

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