Crucian Carnival cuts the ribbon on festival village tonight


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ST. CROIX - The Crucian Christmas Carnival festivities continue into next week with the opening of the festival village tonight.

This year, the traditional village will be named Betty's Kitchen in honor of long-time cook and festival-supporter Elizabeth "Betty" Lynch.

The village will open with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 7 p.m. tonight at the west-side entrance and will remain open nightly through Jan. 5.

The village will feature nightly entertainment and booths operated by local cooks and drink masters.

Lynch was born on St. Croix and graduated from Christiansted High School in 1959. While in high school, she took an interest in the culinary arts under the tutelage of Olivia Henry and mastered the art of authentic Crucian cuisine.

Lynch has taken part in many cooking competitions and events, including The Crucian Christmas Festival villages, Agriculture Food Fairs, Christmas Festival Food Fairs, Harbor Night Celebrations and a Taste of St. Croix.

In 2008 the Crucian Christmas Festival Food Fair Committee named the fair in her honor.

Lynch worked for the V.I. Election System for 33 years and retired in December 1998. After retirement, she began to truly develop her skills and passion for local food.

Lynch's daughter, Ruby Urgent, was the first to convince Lynch to partake in the Festival Village in the late '80s, and since then, Lynch has become a consistent participant.

She has played host to dinner guests, such as the late Gov. Alexander Farrelly and U.S. Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm years ago. On Saturdays, Lynch can be found at Betty's Kitchen in Stoney Ground, Frederiksted, where she continues to delight visitors with her most popular dishes, such as boiled and fried fish, conch in butter sauce, stewed conch, roast goat and pigtail souse.

Other village booths are expected to feature more Crucian favorites, such as fried chicken, fish, Johnny cakes, pates, fritters, conch water, kallaloo, red pea soup, ginger beer, maubi and sea moss.

Village action will continue Friday night, when the Carinval Committee along with Cruzan Rum will present the 2013 Party Monarch competition.

The event will feature the groovy and jumpy monarch categories of the competition, with performers such as Blakest, Dijon, Jamal, Jubal, KM 1, Kylo and Nina Nyce going up against the reigning Groovy Queen Rudy.

Pumpa, last year's jumpy monarch, will not be competing, but will be performing as part of the show.

The show begins at 8 p.m. on the center stage in the Carnival Village, and the entertainers will all be backed up by Band Enhance.

Committee Chairman Alvin Burke Jr. said the preliminary event last week started out being an elimination round for the competition, but the performers were all on-point and brought their best performances, so it turned into an expo event. All performers advanced to the finals, where they will be given one last opportunity to showcase why they should be crowned the champion.

"It was an explosive display last week, and everyone needs to come out, enjoy the show and support their favorite," Burke said.

Tian Winter, reigning Party Monarch from Antigua, also will make a guest performance as part of the night's lineup.

Other big nights in the village will include Quelbe Night on Saturday and Cultural Night on Sunday.

Youth night is scheduled for Dec. 31; Latin Night will be on Jan. 2 and Reggae Night will take over the village on Jan. 3.

- Contact reporter Fiona Stokes at 714-9149 or email fstokes@dailynews.vi.

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