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St. John Arts Festival Kicks off Tuesday

The 13th annual St. John Arts Festival begins Tuesday, bringing music, performance and art to various venues across St. John.

“It’s a celebration of Virgin Islands culture and gifts of the people,” organizer Frank Langley said.

Things kick off Tuesday with two programs but the festival moves into high gear Saturday when events begin in Cruz Bay Park and at other locations.

In conjunction with the arts festival, many restaurants will have live music on tap.

Tuesday events include an airing by the St. John Film Society of “Guantanamera,” a satirical comedy about an austere life in Cuba. It begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Gifft Hill School.

Also Tuesday is a presentation by the St. John Historical Society titled “The Ties that Bind,” an illustrated history of some of the oldest St. John families. It begins at 7 p.m. at the Bethany Moravian Church hall.

On Saturday at 9 a.m., the Historical Society will conduct a hike to Estate Beverhoudtsberg, once a prosperous Danish sugar plantation.

Also Saturday, Cruz Bay Park events start at noon with the Love City Pan Dragons performing in the bandstand. The Pan Dragons are followed by the jump rope team Love City Leapers and an exhibition of children’s ballroom dancing by local schools.

At 6 and 8 p.m. Saturday, the St. John School of the Arts puts on “Broadway Comes to St. John” at the Westin Resort and Villas ballroom. (See associated story.)

A gospel concert featuring variousSt. John church choirs begins at 2 p.m. Sunday in Cruz Bay Park followed by a quadrille dance performance.

On Monday, Koko and the Sunshine Band will perform at 12:30 p.m. in Cruz Bay Park. The band will be accompanied by the Caribbean Ritual Dancers and Mocko Jumbies.

On Feb. 19 at 12:30 p.m., there will be a concert of South American-style music by the Samba Combo band.

On Feb. 20, Inner Visions reggae band will perform at 12:30 p.m.

The festival wraps up the same evening, Feb. 20, with a showing of the film “Ring of Fire,” the story of St. Thomas resident Emile Griffith, six-time welterweight boxing champion. The St. John Film Society presents the movie at Cases by the Sea in Coral Bay at 7:30 p.m.

Hand-crafted island arts, crafts and food will be for sale in the small park adjacent to the Tourism Department’s Visitor’s Center next to the post office. Vendors will be on hand from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday through Feb. 20.

There will also be an exhibition of children’s art at The Marketplace shopping center throughout the week.

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