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Vintage Lantern Tradition Returning Saturday for Christmas Festival Parade

Nov. 28, 2007 — That good old-fashioned feeling will come to Christiansted Saturday with a Crucian Christmas Festival Parade, modeled after nighttime lantern parades held years ago.
The parade will reflect this year's theme, "Culture, History and Tradition Remain on the Slate for Festival 2007-2008."
This will be the first time in a number of years that a part of the festival is back on the East End.
"It is always exciting with new things, like this first-ever Christiansted parade," said Ayanna T. Romney, chair of the parade committee.
The parade, beginning promptly at 8 p.m., is the official kickoff for the 55th Crucian Christmas Festival season. It will start at Sunday Market Square, continue down King Street and end at the Christian "Shan" Hendricks Vegetable Market on Company Street.
Sights and sounds of old traditions will return with entrants in the parade dressed in masquerade, moving to old-time music played by calypso musicians, organizers say. Also marching in the parade will be troupes, floats and floopes. Rising Stars Steel Pan and St. Croix Majorettes are a sampling of the more than 15 entrants marching in the parade.
"There will be fun and entertainment for people of all ages, from two to 102," Romney said. D.J. Comumbo and the Rupshun Band will provide entertainment at the market. Vendors will sell food, drinks, toys and trinkets at the market.
Many of the festival traditions, such as carnival queens, will draw on cultural history. Royal couples will be represented in the parade, with the four young couples vying for the title of prince and princess. The contestants trying to win the titles of Mr. St. Croix and Miss St. Croix will make their appearances Saturday night. The five little girls hoping to be chosen as the festival duchess will make their debut in the parade.
Parking restrictions will be in effect for the parade beginning at 5 p.m. Saturday, according to a news release from the V.I. Police Department:
— no parking on King Street, or Company Street from Market Street to the wharf area;
— no parking on Church Street between King and Company streets;
— no parking on Market Street between King and Company streets;
— no parking on Hospital Street between King and Company streets; and
— no parking on Queen Street between Queen Cross and King Cross streets.
Any vehicle parked in the restricted area will be ticketed and/or towed at the owner's expense, the release said. Anyone who has had a vehicle towed should contact Ancilmo Marshall Command at 773-2530. In addition, traffic traveling east into Christiansted will be rerouted onto Market Street or north on Smith Street toward Watergut.
The prince, princess and duchess will be chosen at 4 p.m. Sunday at St. Croix Educational Complex. Tickets are $5 for children and $10 for adults.
New this year, commemorating the 55th anniversary, is a 32-page, full-color, glossy magazine. Featured in the magazine are photos and bios of pageant contestants, photos from past festivals and honorees. One of those honorees in the magazine is Jeanette Cochrane, who will be honored as a cook in the Food, Arts and Crafts fair. The $7 magazine will be available for purchase at all festival events.
This year's festival is dedicated to past President Lenise Isaac Hunt, who chaired the festival committee for more than a decade. She passed away last year, not long after the holidays. The village will be named Huntsville in her honor.
The festival culminates Jan. 5 with the adult parade, beginning at 10 a.m. at the Claude O. Markoe School and ending at the festival village. For the complete schedule, go to Other Stuff in the Community section of the Source.
For more information or to volunteer, call 719-3379 or email the festival committee. Anyone still wishing to join the parade may do so until Friday. Applications are taken at the festival office in the Barren Spot Village Mall. The office is open weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. through the festival.
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