Rain Doesn’t Dampen the Spirit of Miracle on Main Street

With the rain, Friday afternoon sales were slow, but by 8 p.m., even the on-and-off drizzle and winds couldn’t keep the crowds from heading out to Miracle on Main Street.

A seasonal favorite hosted by the St. Thomas-St. John Chamber of Commerce, Miracle sweeps from Emancipation Garden and Vendors Plaza, where local artisan booths and food stalls are set up, down to Market Square, where the storefronts are usually open and ready for the holiday shopping rush. By early evening, much of the activity was contained around the food, which offered event-goers the chance to cozy up under an awning with something warm and delicious.

When the rain poured down, crowds gathered under the nearest awning to wait it out. (Photo by Ananta Pancham)

“Everything we’re cooking is on the spot,” said Sally Udhwani, of Thali Indian Grill, whose booth, like many others, was set up for the downpour. With her mom, dad and husband cooking or manning the checkout, Thali was able to pump out conch, chicken and lobster rotis in small batches, and this year even had East Indian snacks and desserts like gulab jamun, set up in grab-and-go containers.

Like Thali, many of the other food booths were packed with little gems of goodness, from hot johnny cakes to cheesy macaroni. Even those just serving drinks, like the Absolute Crucian coquito booth, offered a spot to wait out the rain and catch up with friends huddled nearby.

“It’s the richness of the coquito,” joked Absolute Crucian owner Patricia George. “It just brings people together.”

Chante Potter, whose sister Chanise just opened Cataleya’s Delights, helped serve ice cream near Post Office Square. (Photo by Ananta Pancham)

George said she’s been a regular at Miracle for years, and wasn’t disappointed by the slow business early in the day because in the end, she still had the chance to greet customers and pass along some holiday cheer. Much was the same for Chanise Potter, owner of Cataleya’s Delights, who said Friday was her first Miracle as a business owner.

George said she started the mobile truck, serving up ice cream, smoothies and even ice cream cake, in April, to bring a bit of joy to her customers. That was also the case Friday night, she said, adding that her favorite part was seeing the kids who stopped by having fun.

“That’s why we all come out to this,” she said.

Santa and his elves were a hot photo-op commodity Friday. (Photo by Ananta Pancham)

With bellies full, residents made their way down Main Street, greeted first by the music coming from Cardow Jewelers, along with the twinkling lights overhead as store owners gathered in their doorways and on sidewalks to greet friends and passersby and share more about the day’s holiday deals.

“What’s the saying, rain can’t stop the Carnival? Look at the crowds, they’re coming, slow, but way better than what I expected. I didn’t think we’d have any business, but I’m glad there’s been movement,” said Lucky Jewelers’ owner Pash Daswani.

Christina Garcia and Urban Descartes reminisce over 30 years of Miracle on Main Street. (Photo by Ananta Pancham)

While there weren’t as many musical acts as last year, the Ulla F. Muller Panatics still took up their usual spot about halfway down, drawing the crowd. At the same time, the newly remodeled Taphus Beer House capped off the route with a scattering of high-top tables outside, also filled with customers enjoying the night.

“We love Miracle on Main Street and were just reminiscing about the older days,” Christina Garcia and Urban Descartes said while enjoying a drink. “We’ve been here 30 years and while it’s much quieter this year, the event, atmosphere, and downtown are just as beautiful as always.”