ST. CROIX — One of St. Croix’s biggest cultural events that historically draws thousands of islanders and visitors alike to the Shulterbrandt Agricultural Complex in Estate Lower Love, was first announced as canceled, then postponed, by Department of Agriculture Commissioner Carlos Robles. He had blamed the cancellation on roughly $15 million of damage wrought on the grounds by Hurricane Maria, and had spoken of the following year’s event as definitely being held.
But with news of the cancellation came fierce opposition from community members, many of whom had pushed for a curtailed event later in the year. Months later, in February to be exact, the Agriculture and Food Fair Board of Directors, which governs the annual Agricultural Fair, announced that the event would be held after all, with the new dates being May 26-28, which is also the Memorial Day weekend.
Ahead of the weekend, workers have been preparing the fair grounds, and they’ve been doing a stellar job at it. In fact, one would have to look close to see the signs of hurricane damage.
Are you attending the event this weekend? If so, here are the key takeaways we got from the February press conference, some of which might be of some help as you plan:
Here are the key takeaways:
- Agrifest will take place during the Memorial Day weekend (May 26-28, 9:00 a.m.- 6:00 p.m., except on Monday, when the gates open at 12 noon in honor of Memorial Day)
- A flat rate of $4 will be charged this year
- There are some concerns about rooms to accommodate visitors
- Almost all vendor booths that line the pathway between the east and west sides of the grounds were destroyed. The board has been considering its options, including allowing vendors to bring their own tents this year.
- Most farmers that the board asked about a new date, agreed that the Memorial Day weekend would work best for them.
- D.O.A. Commissioner Carlos Robles apologized for stating that the event was canceled, and said that it was always the board’s intention to host the event at a later date this year.
- Mr. Robles said the estimated damage to the Shulterbrandt Agricultural Complex in Estate Lower Love is $15 million.
- The board has sent out letters to participating Caribbean islands and some responded positively.
- The board is seeking volunteers to help with this year’s event (contact Denise Lewis at 340-690-8327. To sponsor the fair, call D.O.A. at 340-423-9823
- This year’s theme is “V.I. Agriculture Strong: Rebound, Rebuild, Regrow”
- Overall, the Agrifest board is expecting a curtailed event this year.
Tags: agricultural fair 2018