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Labor Day Parade Goes By in the Blink of an Eye

Sept. 2, 2007 — The old saying “blink and you'll miss it” rang true Monday at the annual Coral Bay Labor Day Parade.
After knots of St. John residents waited nearly an hour past the scheduled 11 a.m. start, the parade finally got under way along the main roads through the heart of Coral Bay. It consisted of Miss St. John, Jenicia Dalmida; a St. John Rescue vehicle carrying parade organizer Jane Johannes; more than a dozen Middle Age Majorettes; and the Diamonds and Gems troupe. All hailed from St. John.
Although this parade is traditionally on the wee size, this year may have set a record for smallness.
"It proves bigger is not always better," said former Sen. Craig Barshinger.
Things got underway so late that Lori Walden, her son Thomas, 9, and their dog, Rosie, gave up. They had planned to march in the parade, but finally decided to head for Walden's air-conditioned office in Coral Bay to wait for the parade.
There were lots of grumbles from folks waiting … and waiting … and waiting some more.
"I don't know what time it's going to start," said St. John resident Gertrude Griffith.
Cito Dawson of St. Thomas complained that he went all the way to Coral Bay for such a small parade.
"It's too short,” he said. “They need 10 to 15 troupes.”
This was the first local parade for St. John resident Marti Callies, who moved to the island earlier this year.
"It's new to me, so I thought I would check it out," she said.
St. John resident Paul Crutchley was on hand with his family and friends to take in the parade.
"I'm just here to see what's going on,” he said. “Everyone seems to get together and drink rum.”
As with most Coral Bay Labor Day parades, a handful of folks had things to sell along the main road and in the Coral Bay Ballfield. St. John resident Sylvester Jolly was on hand to sell his conch-shell lamps, coconut ashtrays and plants.
Nearby, Michael del Visco had a table set up with his Creative Opening screen doors, lamps, room dividers and cabinet doors. They are made of wood with decorative cut-out designs.
"I'm out to show and sell my work," del Visco said.
The John's Folly Learning Institute was on hand at the ballfield to sell crab and rice, roast pork, salt fish, salmon cakes, potato salad and drinks to raise money for the organization's activities.
"It's our annual fundraiser," Idalia Scimeca said. “Every other summer we take the kids on a trip. It's one way of raising money for the trip.”
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