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Market Square Reopening Saturday with Ceremony, Entertainment

July 27, 2007 — After almost four years, the Sanderilla Thomas Bungalow in Rothschild Francis Square, commonly known as Market Square, will officially open for business Saturday.
Dedication ceremonies for the reconstructed pavilion will begin at 8 a.m., with Gov. John deJongh Jr. and Agriculture Commissioner Louis E. Petersen welcoming the community back to its premier cultural market.
Performers after the opening ceremony will include Milo's Kings and the St. Thomas Heritage Dancers, as well as the Market Woman Tribute by Mary Ann Christopher and Company. Then will follow a market fair from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., the first time the market vendors will officially proffer their wares since the bungalow roof collapsed in 2003 after a tractor-trailer backed into a support column.
Since the collapse, farmers and fishermen have sold their wares on the street in front of the bungalow. In addition to the regular fresh fish, vegetables and fruit, a variety of cultural dishes will also be on sale Saturday, according to a Government House news release.
The rededication ceremony will also mark the commemoration of a registry of names of tradition bearers associated with the Sanderilla Thomas Bungalow and the Rothschild Francis “Market” Square, the release said.
Anyone with information about market women and men, farmers and others who sold from the historic bungalow and square are invited to record it following the ceremony. This registry is in collaboration with the Department of Planning and Natural Resources’ State Historic Preservation Office, the V.I. Cultural Heritage Institute and the Department of Education’s Cultural Education Division.
Reconstruction of the bungalow was fraught with problems, political and practical. Challenges faced by several government agencies as they began to rebuild the structure included parking shortages, vagrants, displacement of farmers and fisherman, noise pollution and bathroom facilities — or lack thereof.
Historical features have been preserved in the rebuilding, and the bungalow has kept its original appearance with the original frame of the bow-shaped roof.
The community is encouraged to dress in cultural wear for the occasion Saturday, the news release said. For more information, contact the Department of Agriculture at 774-5182.
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