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Charlotte Amalie
Sunday, March 26, 2023


April 26, 2004 – Rain didn't stop the carnival Wednesday afternoon as a crowd numbering in the thousands descended upon Emancipation Garden, the site of this year's Cultural Fair.
Carnival court royalty were all in attendance, vendors abounded, steelpan and calypso sounds saturated the air, and the word on the street was that despite a spate of afternoon showers, the number of attendees appeared to be up from previous years.
It was the second year for the Cultural Fair – formerly called the Food Fair – to take place in Emancipation Garden. The move from Rothschild Francis "Market" Square last year was due to the roof of the bungalow there having collapsed just weeks before the event. There was so much favorable response to the relocation that the V.I. Carnival Committee decided to make it permanent.
Although his appearance suffered a slight rain delay, Gov. Charles W. Turnbull was on hand to welcome the crowds to "Stanley's Candyland," as this year's fair was named, in honor of Stanley Ivan Leonard.
"Stanley has been a part of the Food Fair since 1968," a beaming Turnbull announced. "For 36 years he's been bringing his homemade candies, cakes and pastries to this celebration."
The governor noted that with the death of Leonard's wife and help-mate, Helmie Fahie, many had wondered if he would carry on the family tradition. "But Stanley made the decision to continue enriching the food fair" with his delicious sweets, Turnbull said.
The Cultural Fair attracts musicians, bands, artisans, craftspeople and vendors of every possible description, but the heart and soul of the event is the smorgasbord of local food and drinks available to satisfy every craving, savory, sweet or spicy.
Wednesday's event drew scores of masters in the art of local and Caribbean cuisine who set up shop in Emancipation Garden and the surrounding streets. Hungry attendees had their choice of kallaloo, barbecued chicken, stewed whelks, conch in butter sauce, steamed lobster tails, pigeon peas and rice, ital fare, pates, johnny cakes, fungi, pork ribs and more.
For the sweet tooth there were cakes, candies, pies, pastries, homemade ice creams, cookies, and shaved ice in variety and quantity beyond description.
And to drink: tamarind nectar, soursop drink, fruit punch, lemonade and that sweet nectar of the Caribbean gods, ginger beer.
Earl Demming, a second grader on carnival break from Memorial Moravian School, was partial to chicken legs and passion fruit drink. Greg and Kelly Moore, a young couple visiting from Nebraska, couldn't get over the profusion of spicy choices.
Derrick Greaves, president of the St. Thomas All Stars Steelband organization, was helping the band get set up and hadn't yet had an opportunity to cruise the fair. But he knew where he would be heading, first chance he got. "Walkers By the Sea is selling lobsters," he said, a connoisseur's smile crossing his face.
Even though St. Thomian Doris Hansen and her good friend Ursula Richards, visiting from St. Croix until the end of Carnival, hadn't eaten yet, they said they look forward to the Food Fair every year. "It's just a great time," Hansen said.
Before, during or after enjoying the food, fairgoers got to kick back, listen to the music, and watch the performances of talented youngsters such as a group from Lockhart School who danced the quadrille attired in traditional garb.
Other groups performing at venues throughout the fair included the Love City Pan Dragons steelband from St. John, the Rising Stars Youth Steel Orchestra and the St. Thomas All Stars.
For more images seen on the scene of this year's fair, visit the St. Thomas Source Community/Other stuff: page.

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