Thirteenth Annual St. John Arts Festival Kicks Off This Week



Come rain or shine, good or bad economy, the seasoned St. John Arts Festival is off and running again this week.
Attendees can expect all the events which make it an expression and celebration of St. John and the special heritage of its culture.

The Frank Powell Park events start at noon on Saturday, February 16, in the newly landscaped area with the beloved children’s steel pan band Love City Pan Dragons, performing in the bandstand starting at noon, followed by the jump rope team Love City Leapers. An exhibition of children’s ballroom dancing by local schools will follow at 3 p.m.

Also, on February 16 at 9 a.m., the St. John Historical Society is conducting a hike to Estate Beverhoudtsberg, once a very prosperous Danish sugar plantation.

That evening the outstanding “Broadway Comes to St. John” extravaganza put on by the St. John School of the Arts is definitely not to be missed, at 6 p.m. (reserved tickets only) and 8 p.m. (open donation) at the Westin St. John Resort.

On Sunday, February 17, at 2 p.m. there will be a Gospel concert featuring various St. John church choirs in Franklin Powell Senior Park in Cruz Bay, followed by a performance of old quadrille dancing with couples performing in traditional dress.

A grass roots scratch band takes over the bandstand on President’s Day, Monday, February18, at 12:30 p.m. when Koko and the Sunshine Band perform with traditional dancing by the Caribbean Ritual Dancers including Mocko Jumbies. This will be a very colorful and lively event and will certainly be one of the  highlights of events in the park.

On Tuesday, February 19, at 12:30 p.m., there will be a concert of light, South American-style music by the Sambacombo band.
Love City’s one and only reggae band, Inner Visions, will perform on Wednesday, February 20, at 12:30 p.m. reviving memories of the 1970s introduction of the music to the Caribbean and the world. This concert will wrap up events in the Cruz Bay park.

A small exclusive exhibition of hand-crafted island arts, crafts and culinary delights will be in the small park adjacent to the Department of Tourism’s information office starting Saturday, February 16, and running through Wednesday, February 20, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.

The exhibition will be a small and very interesting collection of artists. Similarly, there will be an exhibition of children’s art on the second floor of The Marketplace all during the week.

Finally, the St. John Film Society will be showing a film entitled “Ring of Fire” at Cases by the Sea in Coral Bay, at 7:30 p.m. on February 20. This films tells the story of St. Thomas’s Emile Griffith, a six-time welterweight boxing champion.

Concurrent with the five day festival is the Restaurant Live Music Program, listing all the island restaurants and the various bands and instrumentalists playing each evening for diners to choose according to both cuisine and music. Plus, first-class arts and crafts exhibits in the St. John art galleries.

Although organized and run entirely by unpaid volunteers, significant support for major artistic events is gratefully acknowledged from the V.I. Council on the Arts as is support from the Virgin Islands Department of Tourism for promotion of this major celebration.

Do not miss the one and only Arts Festival of the U.S. Virgin Islands — it is a fun way to learn and appreciate more about this unique island in the sun.

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