Fair celebrates the sweet tastes of St. Croix
Published: January 3, 2013
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ST. CROIX - Residents and visitors enjoying the sights and sounds of the Crucian Christmas Festival also got a colorful and tasty explosion of culture with the food, drinks, music and crafts on display at the Festival Arts and Food Fair in Buddhoe Park on Wednesday.
More than an hour before the official opening of the fair, people began strolling into the area and taking their place in the lines that quickly began to snake through the street. The smells of local delicacies and the sounds of music floated throughout the historic town of Frederiksted, as local cooks dished out tasty eats piled high on plates and in brimming bowls.
Thousands of people traveled to the west end early in the morning for J'ouvert at sunrise. Many never left and wandered right over to the fair.
Others went home, changed clothes and hit the streets again for the fair, which was named this year in honor of Lena Schulterbrandt, a long-time culinary expert and educator, and which followed the festival theme of "Live the Dream, Music, Mas and History - Crucian Christmas Festival 60th Anniversary."
Schulterbrandt said it took her a long time before accepting the honor of having the fair named for her because everything she has done in the community has been from her heart and not for recognition.
She said she finally accepted in honor of her father, Arthur Able, who was among those who organized the first Festival 60 years ago. Schulterbrandt said she was away at college in New Orleans when the Festivals began on St. Croix, and when she returned, she tried to incorporate what she had seen of Mardi Gras celebrations into the local celebrations.
Throughout the years, she has shared her gift of culture and cuisine with thousands of residents, and she said it is important to maintain the culture and keep trying to make it better.
She encouraged today's cooks to stay away from shortcuts in cooking, saying that they must use all seven bushes in making kallaloo.
"And then some of them want to use white flour to thicken the kallaloo," she said. "That is why we use the tania bush, to thicken it."
Schulterbrandt was given a handmade cultural headdress and a mahogany book shelf before she led the official party in cutting the ribbon that opened the fair.
From a few streets out in every direction, the smells of favorite dishes, such as conch and rice, fry fish, chicken, stew goat, roast pork, pates, kallaloo, roti, souse and potato salad, pumpkin johnny cakes, fungi and many other local delicacies filled the air.
A thick crowd that grew to several hundred people at a time visited the colorful tents, where vendors were just as happy to serve up a variety of foods, along with local drinks, such as mauby, coquito, guavaberry rum, ginger beer, passion fruit juice and tamarind juice.
For those who left room for dessert after the main course, plenty of Crucian sweets, such as tarts, cakes, sweet bread, sugar cake, losengas, dondeslas and many other homemade pastries and candies, were available.
Vendors along the northern side of the fair also had books, clothing, materials, pins, herbal rubs and medicines, homemade dolls and masks, as DJ Poppy Pops played the Festival's newest releases to the crowd's delight.
- Contact reporter Fiona Stokes at 714-9149 or email email@example.com.