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Charlotte Amalie
Saturday, April 20, 2024


From 12 noon until 2 p.m. Thursday, Sinbad worked the parking lot at Kmart in front of the Tutu Park Mall on St. Thomas. Really nothing of earth shattering portent, but maybe it revealed the mark of the man.
According to one onlooker with connections to the mall; the sponsors of the event had planned for 2,000 participants. This is a tough number since there are only some 30,000 adults on St. Thomas, and most St. Thomas families appear to hold three jobs. Furthermore, most of the seniors are not about to stand around in any parking lot in the sun. Finally, the vast majority of Virgin Islanders never heard of any Sinbad, including the fictional character, until a couple months ago.
The crowd may have approached a thousand, and many of them were curiosity seekers.
The Kmart sponsors had provided the early birds with tickets for a raffle. When Sinbad arrived with his family, he immediately began to administer the raffle. Some 30 percent of the original curiosity seekers had returned to the Mall, home, or work. More had filled their places, but didn't have tickets. Sinbad worked his way through the drawing where a third of the winners were not present, with aplomb.
After giving out some 20 Kmart/ Sinbad Soul Music Festival bags, he gave out a score of Kmart T-shirts. The crowd was into it. Sinbad decided to go a step further and threw in a pair of tickets to the second seating of the Tom Joyner Comedy Show at the Reichhold Outdoor Theater. This was met with great applause. He then decided to raffle a pair of tickets to all three nights of the Festival, an offer that was met with great excitement. Finally, he threw in a pass back stage and an opportunity to introduce the act of the winner's choice. It was clear he was enjoying the quality of the crowd, which was rapidly bonding with him.
Next Sinbad offered to answer any questions from the audience. This is always a gamble with a strange group, as who knows what will come forth. The Virgin Islanders however simply wanted to get to know the man better. He ended up introducing his children, their friends, his brothers and sisters, and the rest of his immediate family traveling with him. Following the introduction of his family, he answered a couple more questions and hit a lull. By now he had a couple hundred members of the audience who were becoming hard core fans.
What to do with fans? Give autographs. For the remaining 30 minutes or so, Sinbad chatted with his newfound fans as they filed by his table thrusting items for signature, taking personal photos, and generally enjoying the man. Not a wild event as far as throngs of people; but more of a quality event.

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