Commissioner of Tourism Pamela C. Richards is looking forward to welcoming visitors to St. Croix for the 51st Annual Crucian Christmas Festival, November 29, 2003 to January 6, 2004. The theme for this year`s event, “Glitz, Glamour, Music & More Celebrating Festival 2003 - 2004,” hints at the pageantry, parades, music and gourmet local delicacies that will be available on the island during the extraordinary holiday event.
“Seven different cultures have governed St. Croix - Spanish, Dutch, British, French, Knights of Malta, Danish and American - and their unique holiday traditions come to life on St. Croix at Christmas time,” Commissioner Richards stated. “The holidays are the perfect time to visit St. Croix and fully experience the beautiful qualities of our culture.”
Calypso and quelbe are the music of choice during the celebrations. The rhythmic calypso and quelbe holiday music and dance, native to the USVI, emerged from the fusion of French, West Indian and African traditions. Calypso and quelbe are an integral part of modern celebrations, incorporating current instruments like the banjo, ukulele, guitar, keyboard and the alto saxophone. As a result, traditional Christmas carols like “Silent Night” or “Deck the Halls” can be heard with a unique rhythmic calypso twist. For the best calypso talent on St. Croix, visitors should not miss the calypso eliminations on December 19 and the calypso Monarch finals on January 1.
As the holidays near in the USVI, cooks get to work in their kitchens. Guests can enjoy a sampling of local foods at the annual Food Fair on December 30. Food, fun and fellowship are synonymous with this culinary tour of the United States Virgin Islands` native cuisine. Combining an ethnically diverse selection of cooking-styles, the holidays provide cooks the ideal opportunity to create their kitchen`s best. Christmas sweet bread, pasteles, kallaloo, vienna cake, stuffed shellfish, juicy tropical fruits, fried johnny cake bread, benye (a yeast-based fried banana fritter) and golden brown saltfish cakes represent just a few of the countless delicacies available at the Food Fair. In addition to foods, guava berry liqueur and coquito are two local drinks of choice.
On December 26, the Festival Village will open in Frederiksted. Beautifully decorated for the holidays, the village will welcome a host of activities, carnival rides, local foods for sale and much more. The village serves as the starting point for the annual J`ouvert procession, which sends revelers of all ages up the streets, beginning at 4 a.m. on January 1. After Jouvert, audiences will delight in the annual Children`s Parade on January 2.
No festival is complete without a reigning king and queen. Beautiful gowns and talent competitions will mark the Prince and Princess Show on December 14 and the Miss St. Croix Pageant on December 21. If visitors are unable to make it to the pageants, they can enjoy seeing the royal court during one of the most celebrated events of the festival, the Three Kings` Day Parade (adult parade) on January 3. The parade attracts thousands of onlookers as the streets are filled with colorful floats, pulsating music and mocko jumbie dancers. Festivities will come to an awe-inspiring conclusion on the traditional Three Kings` Day, January 5.
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