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Crucians Go West for Adults' Parade

Jan. 6, 2006 — Jumpin', wavin' and gettin' on bad, participants in the 2007 Crucian Christmas Festival adults' parade hit King Street in Frederiksted Saturday as spectators flooded the west end of the island to get their yearly dose of culture and mass.
A beautiful day met spectators and participants for the adult's parade, although some heavy sprinkles threatened to drench those who traveled to see friends and strangers dressed in their best costumes. Positive messages were abundant throughout the parade, with some troupes displaying their messages and others using songs to educate.
Chester Brady, also known as the Mighty Groover, grooved down King Street singing of the ills of large entities like the V.I. Water and Power Authority. The St. Thomas-based Rising Stars Steel Pan adorned their trailer with the words: "Nothing is so complicated that it cannot be simplified by hard work."
The colors of the day were brilliant. Whites, golds, yellows, reds and royal blues mixed with greens, purples and silvers as the sea of colors flowed down the street, accompanied by the showers of bass and trumpets of calypso music from DJs and bands. Children and adults from the island sat on the sidelines alongside visitors, pointing and commenting about their favorite colors or sights during the day.
As masqueraders glided down the street, they were repeatedly stopped for pictures and comments while scolding children who got out of line. The adults reminded them of stories about things that go bump in the night searching for children who get out of line.
Parade participants wore comfortable footwear to shield their overworked soles as they gave all they got, winin' to the beats of the day. Onlookers yelled to their friends and family members who chose to dress up and celebrate the island's heritage with a cultural blend.
The parade brought out the festive nature of some political leaders, dressed in costume and swaying to the beats, waving to all who screamed their names. They included Delegate Donna and husband Christian Christensen, Sen. Jimi and wife Jerri Webber, Sen. Ronald and wife Royette Russell and Sen. Terrence "Positive" Nelson.
Dr. Cora Christian said she likes to participate.
"I will revel with every carnival activity," Christian said after her Rigidims troupe finished its run down King Street. Christian has been involved with many troupes over the years, but says she holds a special place in her heart for Rigidims.
Most visitors to the island are only able to be spectators in the parade, but lucky ones like Phillip Gerard got the opportunity to don a T-shirt and represent their chosen troupe while having a blast in the center of the festival. Gerard, a native Crucian who now lives in Atlanta, Ga., said his aunt was involved with Rigidims troupe. He happened to be around to help the troupe with construction of its float, earning him the opportunity to play mass with the troupe.
"I was their waiter," Gerard said. "I brought drinks and whatever they wanted. I was also able to help them out by filming the parade." Gerard's vacation will soon be over, but he said he will take with him the memory of 2007's parade because he hasn't been able to participate in carnival for the past eight years.
There were so many people in the town of Frederiksted for the festivities that many said the island was "tilting to the west." For those trying to maneuver through the crowd, it was not uncommon to have to do so sideways, and get stopped mid-stride as the person in front would stop to greet friends or family they hadn't seen in a long time.
All roads led to Browne FestiVille as the parade came to an end and the sun finally eased off. The village filled rapidly as people poured in from all sides to get one last taste of seafood kallaloo, conch in butter sauce or a Johnny cake from their favorite booth. Although the village will close Saturday evening, Coney Island will give children one last chance to scream, squeal and win toys when it opens again Sunday afternoon.
To see the Festival in Photos, click here.
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