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Frenchtown Father's Day Celebration Kicks Off at Traditional Site

June 13, 2008 — The annual Frenchtown Father's Day celebration is always close to the heart of the community, but this year was extra special, going back where it began — under the reign of 9-year-old Takia Joseph, the youngest ever Miss Carenage.
The event started off in the Normandie Bar parking lot in 1995, but subsequently had to be moved to the adjacent Joseph Aubain ballpark.
This year's celebration is in the memory of Trevor Joseph, Takia's father, who died unexpectedly last July.
"Our celebration is tinged with Joseph's loss," said Jean Greaux, president of the Committee for the Betterment of Carenage, which hosts the event. "As we look around this village tonight, his memory is alive in every corner. Gail Joseph, my lifelong friend and fellow committee member, asked that no plaque be dedicated to Joseph. She asks that we simply remember Trevor for who he was: a dedicated father and husband."
Gov. John deJongh Jr. spoke about the community feeling generated by the celebration and the role of fathers.
"There is a close bond between fathers and their children," he said. "As I move around our community, it is evident that we need to encourage fathers, especially young fathers, to become more involved with their children."
After a little protocol hiccup, first lady Cecile deJongh crowned the diminutive Takia Joseph. The coronation was temporarily stalled when it was discovered that Takia had not yet cut the ribbon officially opening the ceremony.
Takia took the podium herself after a stool was put under her and, with perfect composure, delivered an address commanding her subjects to "love and honor their fathers, grandfathers, stepfathers, foster fathers."
The evening wasn't all beer and skittles. Greaux took the occasion to let off some long held steam.
"By our presence here tonight in this parking lot, where so many celebrations have been held before," he said, "I can proudly tell you that together we have overcome years of obstacles placed in our way by the former owner of the Normandie Bar, a fellow man of French descent who for years, under the threat of legal action against this committee, blocked this celebration from being held where we stand tonight."
Miss Carenage, Takia Joseph, is a fifth-grader at Calvary Christian Academy, where her mother says she is an "A" student. Asked about her speech, Takia said, "I didn't want to read it from a paper, so I memorized it."
And what will her message be to the audiences she will face at Bastille Day and other celebrations over her year's reign? A bit shy, she looked up at her mother, and then said, "I will tell them to love each other and to live life."
The evening started off with the traditional singing of "La Marseillaise" by the St. Anne's Chapel Youth Choir, always a show stopper. The tiny singers somehow get all the words out, making up in spirit what — if anything — they lack in professionalism.
Clement "Cain" Magras, also an integral part of Frenchtown fetes, presided as master of ceremonies. Milo's Kings and Cool Sessions Brass kept the beat going Friday night. A food sale starts at noon Saturday. Hart ATak Band and Sweeta' Band play Saturday night. On Sunday, it's the 2008 Road March champions JDPP Jammerz and Cool Sessions Brass.
Awards for winners of the Mother's Day and Father's Day fishing tournaments will be presented at 8 p.m. Sunday.
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