June 26, 2005 With a quick snip of the scissors through the red ribbon on Sunday, Sonia Sprauve officially opened St. John's July Fourth Celebration Food Fair in Cruz Bay Park.
Sprauve, who said she's had a booth at Food Fair for more years than she can remember, was honored at this year's event for her continual hard work.
"Our culture is dying slowly, but she's helping to keep it alive," said former Sen. Almando "Rocky" Liburd, this year's master of ceremonies.
While accepting plaques and flowers to commemorate the occasion, Sprauve said the event gives her an opportunity to earn some money, adding, " and to meet people I haven't seen in a long time and people from all over."
The afternoon also saw the coronation of the event's royalty. Marissa Duncan was selected Saturday as Miss St. John. Daniella Bridgewater is Junior Miss St. John and Kadijah Edwards is the event's princess.
The day brought out residents and visitors to eat, drink and be merry under broiling skies.
Hillary Hodge said he trekked over from St. Thomas for the event's "cultural aspect."
"And it's some place to hang out on Sunday," he said.
Visitor Stacey Mihaly from Barrington, R.I., was trying on straw hats in hopes of finding one that fit.
She said she wandered over to Food Fair from Gallows Point Resort because she wanted to explore the island.
V.I. National Park ranger Laurel Brannick said the park gives its employees four hours off to enjoy a July Fourth Celebration event. "Because they want you to experience culture," she said.
She said she was looking for tamarind juice and stewed cherries.
Those who attended had a chance to buy fresh herbs, fruits and vegetables from four St. Thomas folks Alphonso Wade III, Webb Williams, James Farrell and Joshua Phillip. They also had herbal teas on their table.
St. Thomas resident Pat Felix was set up near the Morris DeCastro building to sell roti.
Ticking off her menu, she listed lobster, shrimp, beef, veggie and chicken roti. "Boneless," she said of the chicken, referring to the variety of chicken roti preferred by many.
She promised to set up her table again for the July Fourth parade, so roti connoisseurs will have another opportunity to sample her wares.
While typical West Indian fare, like chicken legs and kallallo were available at numerous booths, St. John resident Mya Powell had something different.
"It's the down-home southern stuff," the Albany, Ga., native said. She dished up barbecue ribs, corn bread with collard greens, fried catfish and peach cobbler.
While food is the focus at Food Fair, local artists, craftspeople and entrepreneurs were out in full force.
Iris Costillo had a table filled with larimar and pink coral pieces.
"I made all of this," she said, noting that the larimar comes from her native Dominican Republic.
Maho Bay Camps had a table filled with decorative items made of recycled glass and clothing made of recycled cloth.
"We're here to show people that you can make beautiful things from trash," Maho Bay staff member Cammy Holm said.
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