Since his booth was a longtime fixture in Love City’s Festival Village, it’s only fitting that this year’s Village be named in honor of Selwyn Powell.
A long-time member of the St. John Festival Committee, Powell sold conch, whelks, lobster, fish, pates and more from his Festival Village booth for 34 years. He retired his booth in 2008, a little less than a year before his beloved wife, Ruth Powell, passed away.
“We just liked it,” Selwyn Powell said of working side by side with his wife in their Village booth. “Everything you could think about, we used to have in our booth. We like to be helping out.”
Whether it was participating in a parade troupe, attending committee meetings or helping out with various Festival activities, Powell could always be counted on to help out, explained Festival Committee Chairperson Leona Smith.
“He’s contributed a lot of hours toward the Festival, and a lot of services too,” she said. “He’s fun to work with, always smiling and gets along well with everyone. He just comes in there, goes straight to the fire and starts preparing the chicken for the different activities we have.”
Powell fondly recalls manning the concession stand at the Princess and Queen shows.
“In the evening, we would go down and help them with frying chicken for the Queen shows and everything,” he said. “We’d go down and cook up a storm. We’d help sell drinks and do everything.”
Powell’s willingness to help out extends to his church as well. He was often involved with whatever needed done around the Bethany Moravian Church, he explained.
“I used to clean the yard and I was on the board, helping with anything they have to do in the church,” said Powell.
“I’m just a church-going person and liked to involve myself in everything they do.”
The Village honoree also showed dedication to his job at the V.I. Water and Power Authority, where he was employed for 30 years.
Powell does not expect to be as involved with the 2010 Festival as he was in past years, but he will certainly be on hand for the Village opening on Wednesday, June 30 at 7 p.m., and although he doesn’t have transportation, he will ride to town with his daughters to enjoy some of the festivities.
Smith described Powell as a humble man, and his humility is evident when talking about being selected as Village honoree.
“When Leona told me about it, I told her, ‘well, I’ll accept it,’” said Powell. “She picked me, so I’ll go along with them.