Crucian Christmas Carnival Village opens

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ST. CROIX - The Crucian Christmas Carnival kicked into high gear Thursday night with the opening of the Carnival Village, dubbed "Betty's Kitchen" in honor of Elizabeth "Betty" Lynch.

The delectable aroma of meat and seafood and all manner of Crucian cuisine wafted through the air Thursday evening as local cooks rushed to put the final touches on everything for opening night.

Betty's Kitchen has a little something for everyone, from savories to sweets, from full plate meals to chicken legs and Johnny cakes.

Specialties run the gamut from bullfoot soup to goat water to conch in butter sauce and souse with potato salad.

Roti and pates are plentiful and Johnny cakes are abundant.

In addition to the rectangle of booths that comprise the Village proper, there are also booths that lead the way from the carnival gates to the Village - and there are even booths across the street and back into the parking lot.

Crucian Christmas Carnival royalty reigned over the opening ceremony Thursday night, including Duchess Jayla Newton, Princess Zillah Ambrose and Miss St. Croix Astia LeBron.

Lynch was showered with presents as the Village honoree.

Decked out in a cultural costume, she thanked those who selected her for the honor.

Lynch has participated in many cooking competitions and events, including Crucian Christmas Festival Villages, Agriculture Food Fairs, Harbor Night Celebrations and a Taste of St. Croix. In 2008, Crucian Christmas Festival Food Fair was named in her honor.

On Saturdays, Lynch can be found at Betty's Kitchen in Two Brothers, Frederiksted, where she makes dishes that are customer favorites, including boiled and fried fish, conch in butter sauce, stewed conch, roast goat and pigtail souse.

"Many of us have been eating in one or another of Betty's Kitchens for years," said V.I. Delegate to Congress Donna Christensen. Christensen said Lynch's food feeds both body and spirit.

As the opening ceremony proceeded, officials wished everyone a happy and safe carnival.

V.I. Police Commissioner Rodney Querrard Sr. urged those attending to let a police officer know if they see anything that looks like trouble brewing.

"Let's do it together. Let's look out for each other," he said. "Let's do it safely and peacefully."

St. Croix administrator Dodson James said that the name of the celebration has been changed from Festival to Carnival - but the event is still all Crucian.

"Whatever we going to call it, festival or carnival, it's going to be unique," he said.

James also warned against losing local culture.

Lt. Gov. Gregory Francis spoke about Lynch sharing her cooking skills and talent with the community.

He and all the other officials urged those attending to stay safe and enjoy the festivities.

In addition to the wide variety of food on offer, the Village will feature live entertainment nightly through Jan. 5.

Tonight's lineup includes the Party Monarch competition at 8 p.m.

- Contact Joy Blackburn at 714-9145 or email

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