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HomeNewsArchivesHundreds Turn Out for Festival Wrap-Up Parade

Hundreds Turn Out for Festival Wrap-Up Parade

Parade Marshal Chester Brady.Cruz Bay was a carnival of color Monday as St. John wrapped up its annual Festival with a parade.
Parade Marshal Chester Brady led the way dressed in madras hat, vest and pants. Brady usually walks the route from the V.I. National Park Ballfield through Cruz Bay to Julius E. Sprauve School as a solo entry.
Instead of the cart he usually pushes, he wore a car to replicate the vehicle that in most years carries the parade marshal. After finishing one go round, Brady returned to do the route again with his cart, wearing a tuxedo and calling himself the Mighty Groover.
“It’s a beautiful day. I’ll always cherish this,” Brady said of his role as parade marshal.
It was a beautiful day when the parade started around noon, but as the parade progresses, the skies clouded. A few showers rained down throughout the afternoon, but by the time the parade neared its end, the heavens had opened up.
The parade brought out various troupes from St. John and St. Thomas, but also two groups with health messages. The Middle Aged Majorettes, who most years twirl their way down the street wearing bikini-painted t-shirts, had on the t-shirts but were promoting cancer screening.
“Nothing fancy, no routine, just a shout out to go get screened,” the group’s spokesman, Celia Kalousek, said.
According to Kalousek, 13 of the group’s approximately 30 members are cancer survivors.
AARP was also on hand to remind people about the importance of health.
“And we want you to join the national and local chapter,” St. John chapter President Beverly Biziewski said.
As always the parade brought out a slew of royalty. Miss St. John Shante Monsanto-Weeks was at the front, and Princess Destini Garcia had the seat of honor in a convertible that also carried the other princess contestants.
A group of women and some kids affiliated with St. John’s Gifft Hill School did the merengue down the parade route in the Ciudad de Amor troupe.
“That’s Love City,” organizer Elizabeth Putnam said, referring to St. John’s nickname.
Ever mindful of the environment, the St. John chapter of the Recycling Association of the Virgin Islands was passing out miniature soda cans filled with candy to remind people that St. John recycles aluminum cans.
“We want to get the word out,” Linda Bechstein said.
St. John’s two major hotels, Caneel Bay Resort and the Westin Resort and Villas, came out in full force with troupes in multi-colored costumes. The Westin’s troupe portrayed the birds of paradise, and Caneel’s focused on guarding the children.
The parade brought out hundreds of residents and visitors. Some were newbies at their first parade.
Chris Laude, the Coral Bay Community Council’s new storm water engineer, was on hand with his wife, Jenny, and children, Ian and Brendan. While they were taking in the sites they also had a request since they can’t find housing in the Coral Bay area.
“We need three bedrooms,” Laude said.
Kim and Terry LeBlanc of Milford, Conn., got married a few days ago on St. John. While they were on island, they decided to see the parade.
Randy Stevenson of Millbrook, Ill., wasn’t sure what to expect.
“I think it will be like a New Orleans-style parade,” he said.
Cheryl Todman of Stafford, Va., made the trip to see her nieces, Ashley and Caliah, march with the St. Thomas Majorettes.
And Victoria Greenaway of St. Thomas and her granddaughter, Maya Davis, 13, of Baltimore, made their annual trip to St. John for the parade.
“I love the fun,” Greenaway said, summing up the remarks of many.

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