Residents, visitors and family members home for the annual St. John Fourth of July Festival celebration converged in the heart of Cruz Bay on Monday, June 29, for Festival Village opening ceremonies honoring James Penn.
As chairperson of the Festival and Cultural Organization of St. John for almost 20 years, Penn literally turned the island’s small event into the almost month-long celebration it is today.
“When I took over the St. John festival it was nothing,” said Penn. “We didn’t even have chairs — we had to go to St. Thomas and rent them. I bought 1,000 chairs to use so we wouldn’t have to do that anymore.”
“All you see now, we put it together,” Penn said. “I got the radio to come over here every day and cover our events. I said, ‘James Penn will pay for it.’”