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Laurel Hewitt-Sewer Honored at July Fourth Celebration Food Fair

June 24, 2007 – Laurel Hewitt-Sewer, who was honored Sunday at St. John's July Fourth Celebration Food Fair for her many years of work at the event, links the three largest Virgin Islands.
"She is from St. Croix, was married on St. John and teaches on St. Thomas," Gov. John deJongh said in his remarks to the crowd of several hundred people gathered in Cruz Bay Park for the annual event.
Hewitt-Sewer said her mother, Alicia Hewitt, taught her to bake and got her interested in all "those lovely things." She is a consumer science teacher at Bertha C. Boschulte Junior High School on St. Thomas and also teaches at the University of the Virgin Islands.
She said she first got involved with Food Fair on St. Thomas and St. John to raise money so her students could attend off-island conferences.
Her son, Zaid Sewer, introduced Hewitt-Sewer. He said that his mother also cooks at home. "She encourages us to give our opinion," Zaid Sewer said.
Hewitt-Sewer had a coterie of her sisters from Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority on hand for support. "She's hard working," Alpha Kappa Alpha member Patricia Blake-Simmonds said of Hewitt-Sewer.
Hewitt-Sewer is married to Oswin Sewer. They are also the parents of Oswin Sewer Jr.
The event also saw the crowning of the July Fourth Celebration royalty. Saturday, Jenicia Dalmida was named Miss St. John. Last week, Shadiyah Boynes was picked to be the princess. Dalmida, whose father was the late Jason Dalmida, said that winning the pageant was a long-time goal. "Daddy, this was not only for me but for you," she said.
In his remarks, Agriculture Commissioner Louis Peterson Jr. announced that four acres of land near the agriculture station in Coral Bay will be leased to farmers to grow crops. He said that while the Agriculture Department already has a similar program on St. Thomas and St. Croix, none exists on St. John. He noted that residents of the territory need to pay more attention to growing food so they'll have a fresher and healthier food supply. Petersen also announced that the department will hold workshops to teach farmers across the territory the art of beekeeping.
While local honey didn't appear to be for sale, local cooks were dishing up such favorites as crab and rice, whelk prepared several ways, pate in various flavors, potato stuffing, conch, maubi, limeade, tarts, and macaroni and cheese.
"We do this every year. It's traditional," St. Thomas resident Golda Hermon said, adding that she also cooked last night at a private party.
St. John resident Joyce Sprauve said that she was tired from doing all the cooking, but she did it because she enjoyed it. "I like making food," she said.
Food Fair also featured various arts and crafts, many made locally. Shirley Stendahl-McLeod, who said she lives on a house boat at Red Hook, was busy selling her art work. She said that while she normally retails though shops, selling at Food Fair gave her a chance to hear first hand the appreciation from her customers. "Business is good," she said.
Food Fair brought together visitors and a cross-section of residents from across the territory to eat, drink and be merry.
"I wanted to hear the Pan Dragons," Betty O'Dell of Olney, Texas, said as she waited for St. John's youthful steel pan group to play.
Cliff Franklin of St. Thomas was on hand with Nicky Raimer, her one-year-old son Selden Samuel Jr. and other relatives. "We're out to eat good food and mix and mingle," he said.
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