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Festival Organizers Undeterred by Slow Start

Dec. 2, 2006 — The Crucian Christmas Festival got off to a slow start Saturday night, but organizers promise it will go out with a bang.
"The crowd is small, but the message is big," said Crucian Christmas Festival Organization President Lenise Hunt. "This festival we are going to showcase our culture."
That message is expressed in the theme chosen for the 54th celebration: "Celebrating our Heritage With a Cultural Blend for Festival 2006-2007."
In front of a small crowd at the Christian Shan Hendricks Market in Christiansted, festival royalty and those competing for various titles were presented to the community. "Everything begins tonight," said Hunt, "the love, friendship and pageantry of festival."
The Prince, Princess and Duchess of festival will be chosen on Sunday, Dec. 3, 2 p.m. at the Island Center for the Performing Arts. Keyanna Christian, 11, and Nico McMillian, 10, are the first team and Makeda Turbe and Miles Ventura, both 11, are the second team. Competing for the title of Festival Duchess are Keshaundia Quinn, 6, and Azhanea Wathey, 4.
Francilla Benjamin, the reigning Miss St. Croix, introduced the four contestants competing to win her crown. Dressed in matching tops and blue jeans, the young ladies — Yaida Bermudez, Juwanna Goodwin, Melba Moore and Edrinay White — introduced themselves to the crowd.
Also introduced was Sonny Ortiz, one of the contestants vying for the title of Mr. St. Croix. Contestants Julio Petersen III and John Williams were not present, but organizers said they will be present for the show, which promises to be filled with excitement. The combined pageant will be held Sunday, Dec. 17 at Island Center.
Hunt mentioned the committee has yet to receive its government funding, a ritual repeated in several past festivals. Despite this, Hunt said the group is doing its best to bring an exciting festival season to residents and visitors.
For the complete Christmas Festival schedule, click here.
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