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Charlotte Amalie
Sunday, November 28, 2021
HomeNewsArchivesA Little Taste of Ag Fair at the Agrifest Mini Harvest Festival

A Little Taste of Ag Fair at the Agrifest Mini Harvest Festival

Folks and farmers proudly showed off American bulldogs, vintage Volkswagen Beetles and big, beautiful avocados at the second Agrifest Mini Harvest Festival in Estate Lower Love on Monday. The theme was “Harvest Bounty, Bugs, Bikes and Bulldogs.”

Clarice Clarke, coordinator of promotions for Agrifest, said the Mini Harvest Festival held at the Rudolph Schulterbrandt Agriculture Complex opens up the opportunity to showcase cars and dogs, which they can’t do during the annual fair. Schulterbrandt said they allow service dogs entrance to the fair, but not pets.

She said the board of directors has had a lot of requests for the shows, but it is a safety issue with large crowds and other animals. And there isn’t space to showcase all the local classic and vintage cars.

The polished vintage Beetles looking like iridescent bugs were all in a line in a freshly cut field.

Michelle Turnbull, a founder and secretary of the Paradise VW Club on St. Thomas, beamed as she talked about her bright magenta 1967 Beetle that has been in her husband’s family for 47 years. She said her husband’s aunt, Mavis Turnbull, bought the car new in 1967 and paid $1,925 for it. Turnbull added that she loves to drive the car around St. Thomas and she doesn’t worry about it being damaged.

“I put on some miles driving it around St. Croix, which was nice,” Turnbull said. She said the club members shipped 11 Beetles and dune buggies to St. Croix for the show.

Ulric Benjamin from the St. Thomas club said he loves going to shows and looking at classic cars.

Tyrone Luke, president of St. Croix Twin City VW Club, said club members love to show off their Beetles and spend time talking about cars. The club members displayed eight cars.

“It’s wonderful to get together and visit with other people who love cars,” Luke said. “And the members like to support local events such as the fair,” he added.

A large tent and bleachers were set up for the spectators’ comfort at the dog show.

There were only five American bulldogs, called bullies by their owners, that were entered in the show.
Yolanda Andrews’ American bulldog Dante won best of show last year, she said. This year she showed off her sleek young American bulldog, Precious.

David Canton’s beautiful gray and white American bulldog Blu was selected by a show of hands as the most impressive dog this year. And Che Smith’s American bulldog puppy Mojo was chosen as the most exotic dog.

Another large tent was set up where a dozen local farmers sold plants, fruit and vegetables. This rainy season provided for a bountiful harvest of avocados, limes, sugar apples, pumpkins, squash, eggplants and much more.

Veronica Gordon had plants and items she makes from calabash for sale. Andrita Griffin of Dorcas Griffin Nursery was selling beautiful flowering plants, herbs and vegetable plants. Ruth Hanley of Roots House was selling and giving out samples of jellies, chutneys and pickled vegetables. Her gold-colored pepper jelly was the perfect combination of heat and sweetness. And Violet Drew, owner of Ras Daughter Sunrise Farm and Market Stand, had a table overflowing with all sorts of fresh produce. Sejah Farm also had a table piled high with fresh local fruits, vegetables and brown eggs.

The food pavilion housed arts, crafts, books, jewelry, clothing, toys, trinkets and baked goods. The “Cake Queen” Renita Johannes had beautiful six layer cakes of all flavors for sale and LaVerne Bates was selling pies and tarts.

Toni Downs of Queen Caribee had products she makes from bees wax and honey for sale. “This is a great event for a holiday weekend for the public and for us to showcase local products,” Downs said.

At the east end of the fairgrounds, 16 vendors were selling traditional fair food from booths surrounding the main stage where Kewlie Band and DJ Swing performed. Auntie Janice Tutien had the little general store open with old-fashioned candy and treats offered for sale.

Children had fun jumping around in blow-up bouncers and played games of skill. The Armstrong ice cream van and Sylvia’s Smoothies food truck were also on the fairgrounds serving their specialties.

Joan Merchant, eating an Armstrong’s ice cream cone, said she enjoys the food at local festivals. “It was nice coming to the festival and having something to do for the holiday,” Merchant said.

Resident Elize Davis said she really liked seeing the dog show, but she wished there were more dogs.

Clarke said the festival was so successful last year the fair board decided to try it again. “With this event it gives the fair board the opportunity to look at the cultural area to expand and improve on what is offered.”

She added the mini festival gives residents a fun Labor Day activity for the whole family. “And it gives children something fun to do before they go back to school tomorrow.”

Clarke explained the Mini Harvest Festival is also held to raise funds to help build infrastructure for the annual Agriculture and Food Fair. She said the funds might be used for new tents and tent repairs, or for any other needs that come up.

The festival was sponsored by the Department of Agriculture and the University of the Virgin Islands Cooperative Extension Service.

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