It must be nearing Bastille Day. French flags, large and small, are popping up all over the island: in front of the French Heritage Museum and in potted palms here and there.
That French spirit is in the air, so get ready to break out the champagne and "Vive La France."
Most of the island and the entire French community are buzzing about activities coming up for French Heritage Week, which Gov. John de Jongh Jr. has declared to be the week of July 11.
"French Heritage Week" surrounds Bastille Day, July 14, with much activity preceding and following the famous day in 1789 when the French citizens stormed the Bastille, heralding a new government.
The governor said this week, "Residents of French heritage are an important group in our V.I. community, and it is appropriate that we demonstrate to our residents, neighbors and friends of French descent our feeling of warmth and sincere friendship towards them."
He added, "The expertise of the people of French heritage in the areas of fishing, farming, the professions and other vocations, has contributed significantly to the political, economic, social and cultural progress and growth of the territory."
DeJongh will be doing his part at activities, including a reception Monday evening at the governor’s official Catherineberg residence, where the French community is invited to an evening of music, dance and conviviality at the stately home overlooking Charlotte Amalie harbor.
After being rained out in mid-June, this year’s Father’s Day weekend celebration, sponsored by the Committee for the Betterment of Carenage, has been rescheduled to the weekend of July 17-18 and will wrap up the week-long observance of French Heritage Week.
The activities begin Friday evening. They are:
Friday, July 9: Evening – Captain’s meeting at Hull Bay
7:30 p.m Registration for the Kingfish Tournament
Saturday, July 10
Registration for the Kingfish Tournament will continue at Hull Bay Hideaway from noon to 7 p.m. and also at Bryan’s Electric and Neptune Fishing during regular business hours.
Sunday, July 11: Annual Bastille Day Kingfish Tournament: Fun Day at Hull Bay
5:30 a.m.—Lines in the water
noon to 2 p.m.—free bar for the Anglers
noon to 5 p.m.—dancing with music by Cool Session Brass
5 to 10 p.m.—dancing with music by C4
8 p.m.—award Ceremony
A shuttle service will be provided from Sib’s parking lot to Hull Bay starting at 11 a.m. until 10 p.m.
Monday, July 12: Governor’s Reception
6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Catherineberg Residence
A shuttle service will be provided from the Fort Christian parking lot starting at 5:45 p.m.
Tuesday, July 13: Reception of the Honorary French Consul Odile De Lyrot at the Emerald Beach Hotel
6 to 8 p.m. with a short program
Free hors d’oeuvres and cash bar with music and dancing by Oleik Lédée
Wednesday, July 14: Bastille Day celebration in Frenchtown with the Frenchtown Civic Organization
6 p.m. Traditional music, a short program followed by dancing, sweetbreads and ham until everyone is tired enough to call it a day (or night).
Saturday, July 17 and Sunday, July 18: Father’s Day Celebration by the Committee for the Betterment of Carenage
The two-day event will feature live music each night in the mini-village across the street from the former Normandie Bar building, home to Betsy’s Bar and Restaurant. There will be food, drinks and nightly entertainment with popular bands including: Top Notch, Cool Session Brass and Ah We, taking the stage.
At 7 p.m. on Sunday, July 18, CBC will award prizes in the annual fishing tournaments held in May and June of this year. There will also be a raffle drawing.