St. John Festival 2018’s ‘Sessionsville’ Opens in Cruz Bay

Festival Queen Chenijah Dawson flashes a smile as the ceremony to open Sessionsville begins.

Community members mingled with St. John Festival royalty and government officials at the official opening of “Sessionsville” village in Cruz Bay Thursday evening.

Festival 2018’s village is named for in honor of the popular and prolific St. John band Cool Sessions, who were recognized at the opening. The band has been together for 33 years.

Members of Cool Sessions are recognized at the opening of the village named in their honor.

Attendees of the opening ceremony, who came out despite some light drizzle, were also treated to the sounds of the Love City Pan Dragons, a rendition of the National Anthem sung by Shikima Jones, the courtly smile of St. John Festival Queen Chenijah Dawson, some words by Gov. Kenneth E. Mapp and Lt. Gov. Osbert Potter, good food and good friends.

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“Carnival contributes to the recovery process,” Lt. Gov. Osbert Potter said. Mistress of Ceremonies Alecia Wells (in the back) tells the crowd that the program will soon begin.

“It’s great that after the hurricanes we’re still able to do this,” said Potter. “I don’t think people even remotely thought we could do this. Carnival contributes to the recovery process. We enjoy good food, music, and let our hair down.

“It’s a miracle that we’re here, and we’ve come back so far,” agreed Senator-at-Large Brian Smith. “It’s a conglomerate effort with God’s guidance. Love City is a special place to be.”

Those from off-island who aided in St. John’s recovery were among those present in the village. The medical team from Johns Hopkins who served right after Hurricanes Irma and Maria are back on St. John for a follow-up visit, and were able to enjoy the opening of Sessionsville.

“I’ve seen tremendous progress here,” said team leader Dr. Christina Catlett.

Shakima Jones rocks the national anthem.
St. John’s Love City Pan Dragons are the First to entertain at Sessionsville.
“It’s a miracle that we’re here, and we’ve come back so far,” said Sen. Brian Smith.
The medical team from Johns Hopkins who served after Hurricanes Irma and Maria include (from left) Dr. Christina Catlett, Linda Dunbar, Denise Mueller, Janai Lowe, and Pamela Paulk.
The John Hopkins team show off their V.I. and hurricane survival bracelets.
Gov. Kenneth E. Mapp arrives at Sessionsville.
Kalyn Nielsen and Camelia Febres flank Erika Petersen, wife of mocko jumbie Yisrael Petersen who towers above.
Chris Meyer enjoys her flashing cups.
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