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Charlotte Amalie
Wednesday, June 29, 2022


The Mocko Jumbie Jamboree stilt dancers are back from their second annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, pleased with their performance but in debt and in hope of finding funding to cover their out-of-pocket costs.
Although the troupe represented the territory before millions of parade watchers in person and on network television, "the Department of Tourism still hasn't given us funds we expected before we left," group leader Gerry Cockrell said.
"We went about $8,000 in debt with the trip, which we are trying to recoup," she said. "A financial boost from Tourism would certainly help." She said the group is worried about covering its costs for V.I. Carnival 2000, with a budget which is currently without funds.
According to Cockrell, the mocko jumbies, always popular locally, were a big hit in the Big Apple. "It was raining like mad on the day of the parade," she said, "but the kids were wonderful – heads up and smiles all around. It must have been all the attention they were getting."
All along the route, she said, the usually blasé New Yorkers broke out in applause for the towering Virgin Islanders in their colorful costumes. "We got on the ‘Today' show, briefly," she noted.
With a little cooperation from Tourism, she said, Mocko Jumbie Jamboree could have gotten a lot more positive, priceless exposure for the territory, which it could certainly use. She noted that troupe member Jennelle Sarauw did manage to get her picture taken with teenage idol and NBC television "Today" show co-host Matt Lauder.
And, Cockrell added, "We had our parade banner signed by Katie Couric and Al Roker, too, along with Lauder!" The three share the host duties on the "Today" show.
Ten Mocko Jumbie Jamboree members took part in the parade, dancing through the caverns of Manhattan directly ahead of a float representing Jamaica. Since their return to St. Thomas, they and the rest of the troupe have been jumping up at the Havensight Mall "Dockside Jamboree" events for the last two Friday evenings. This coming Friday, Dec. 17, they'll be strutting their stuff at the annual "Miracle on Main Street" festivities downtown.
They group, or a portion thereof, is available to perform at private functions. For information about bookings or about contributing to their cause, call Cockrell at (340) 774-7057 or contact her by e-mail at mockojumbie@hotmail.com.

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