The sun beamed brightly at the Louis A. Alicea Field of Dreams Ballpark down Hess Road on St. Croix on Saturday, and hundreds came out for food, fun, music and culture, celebrating the long history of friendship between the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.
The park looked clean and fresh as it hosted the commemorative event celebrating 55 years of friendship and unity. People of all ages gathered to celebrate VIPR Friendship Day Cultural Food Fair and Family Fun Day.
The jamboree kicked oﬀ with quadrille dancing, followed by the moko jumbies of Ricardo Richard Elementary School. The jumbies stepped onto the scene for some island dancing and culture bearing. Children watched in amazement as the larger-than-life beings performed to some of the island’s favorite tunes.
Children were treated to face painting and balloons provided by Vivi the Clown. Little ones lined up after choosing from a variety of face designs and were happily adorned by Vivi. The clown also added features such as glitter or jewels to make each child’s face stand out.
The craft station gave children the opportunity to make shakers and an unusual souvenir of their own to go home with. The area was stocked with stickers, paper, glue and many other interesting items to decorate the pieces.
There was a blend of USVI and Puerto Rican fare to dine on. From pate to potﬁsh to pasteles; alcapurrias and johnny cake, the traditional foods from both the V.I. and Puerto Rico were on hand. Local caterers L&C oﬀered a variety of flavors they called “Crucian Puerto Rican.”
The event was one of many to commemorate the 55 years of friendship between Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. It was a family aﬀair with everyone from babies to great-grandparents in attendance.
The day featured performances from Crucian favorites Stanley and the Ten Sleepless Knights accompanied by the Ay Ay Cultural Masqueraders. Stanley and his crew marched through the crowd playing their instruments while the Masqueraders moved with the music. The youth band YGT oﬀered attendees a full spectrum of sounds spanning the generations. The band delivered a high-energy set as they performed covers of such songs as “24K” from Bruno Mars and an original song they debuted, created in the spirit of VIPR Friendship. With steel pans, saxophone, bass, keyboard and drums, the tunes were classic and fresh, and the crowd gave great feedback to show the young men that they were having a great time.
The VIPR Friendship Committee organizes on the annual festivity.