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I am ready for carnival, I am ready for carnival. I am ready for carnival 2014 – AnuMaat Davis Kahina, St. Croix Carnival Queen.
The opening night of the Crucian Christmas Carnival Village proved to be a raving success on Friday night, kicking off what is expected to be one of the most enthralling carnival seasons in the Island’s history, as thousands came out to participate in the festivities, filled with fun, food and excellent entertainment by local bands and recording artists from abroad.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony paved the way for the night, as the Village, renamed ‘Romney’s World’ in honor of the late Romney Williams, who, according to members of the organizing committee, was relentless in making sure that the Village not only ran smoothly, but was presented on a world-class level.
“What I remembered the best about my dad is that he gave and gave and gave some more,” said Lonie Williams, the daughter of Romney Williams, thanking God and the Carnival committee for honoring her father by renaming the Village after him. Others reminisced about Williams, too, including President of the Carnival committee, Davidson Charlemagne, who said Williams was a hard worker that, even when he fell ill, would still show up to work — making sure the Village was organized the way it should be.
Also in attendance were Sen. Sammuel Sanes and St. Croix Administrator Dodson James, who shared the stage with Carnival Princess 11-year-old Jahmayah Hospedales, Carnival duchess Ahnyra Messer, 5, and of course St. Croix Carnival Queen AnuMaat Davis Kahina.
“Lovely evening everybody, how are you all feeling?!” Kahina began, awakening the crowed with her electric voice and creative use of words. “This is an amazing night for everyone,” she added.
Kahina went on: “I consider this the VI Village, not just St. Croix’s Village because this is the Virgin Islands [and] we have everyone taking part in this village tonight. I’m [also] praying that the violence would please be kept to a minimum, to a zero.”
Indeed, Charlemagne had spoken forcefully about the zero-tolerance for violence in the Carnival Village, especially after fights were reported at the Mon Bijou J’ouvert, and stressed that the Village is a place where families gather with children to have a great time.
There are 25 booths offering a variety of tastes — from chicken leg and Johnny cake to patés and roti. Local food van ‘Jalapenos Southwest Grill’ brought the Mexican flavor with offerings like Moes, Chipolte and Qdoba, and even IHOP has a booth stationed here.
Elsewhere, on the northwest side of the Village, parents thrilled their children with entertainment on the various amusement rides, while adults played other games hoping to win gifts and money.
After Melody Rames, Executive Board member of the Crucian Christmas Carnival Committee, listed the night’s proceedings, Pastor Jermaine Mulley opened in prayer, asking for God’s blessing and guidance, setting off what turned out to be an extremely successful Village start.
Local groups Kylo and the Stylee Band and Pumpa & the Unit rocked the massive crowds for hours, and later, Mr. Killa from Grenada, enraptured the audience with some of his well-known songs, including 2014 smash hit Rolly Polly.
Making his way off the stage and into the throngs of people, Sen. Sanes told VI Consortium, “this is my night. I love the Village. I love this night.” Sanes, along with Charlemagne had been working on making the current location a permanent festivities park for all such events on St. Croix, and not just for the Crucian Christmas Carnival Village, and said that they were successful in securing the money, and that the measure had already passed.
“So hopefully, by next year, this will be something permanent,” he said.
The Crucian Christmas Carnival events continue tonight. See the full list of festivities here.
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