Commemorating a true Cultural Blen’ for Festival 2007, hundreds of residents braved the sweltering heat on Sunday, June 24, to celebrate Food Fair and Coronation in Franklin Powell Park.
Crowds of hungry revelers swarmed the more than 20 food stalls along the waterfront, eager to taste the culinary delights.
From conch in butter sauce with sweet potato stuffing to callaloo and a veggie pates, locals chefs offered a plethora of specialties.
Long-time Food Fair participant Laurel Hewitt-Sewer was the honoree of the day. She was introduced by her multi-talented son Zaid Sewer, who ran down from the gazebo to play with the Love City Pan Dragons after relating his mother’s many attributes and accomplishments.
Three Islands, One Life
A St. Croix-native who lives on St. John and works in St. Thomas, Hewitt-Sewer epitomizes a true Virgin Islander, Governor John P. deJongh Jr. explained to the crowd.
The consumer science teacher and Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority member is married to Oswin Sewer and in addition to Zaid, is the mother of Oswin Sewer Jr.
Hewitt-Sewer credited her own mother for sparking her interest in cooking and encouraged others to pass on any skills they have to the next generation.
“If you hold any cultural knowledge in your hand, make sure you pass it along to someone else,” said Hewitt-Sewer. “We must keep our traditions alive every way we can.”
Queen, Princess Crowned
Miss St. John 2007 Jenicia Dalmida and St. John Princess 2007 Shadiyah Boynes officially accepted their crowns.
Dalmida, whose father is the late popular fisherman Jason Dalmida, dedicated her crown to her father’s memory.
“This is for you Daddy,” said Dalmida.
While the crowds enjoyed the fare, guest speaker Department of Agriculture Commissioner Louis Peterson Jr. reminded the crowd to consider the source of the food used to prepare the dishes on sale.
“How much of the food you are eating today was imported from outside the Virgin Islands,” Peterson asked. “Hopefully next year when we come back for food fair, we’ll be able to try some Love City honey harvested right here on St. John.”
The Department of Agriculture will soon have a larger presence in Coral Bay, as they recently obtain four acres of land near the Agriculture Station which will be leased to farmers, Peterson announced at the event.
Lt. Gov. Greg Francis, St. John Administrator and Cultural and Festival Organization president Leona Smith and Public Services Commissioner chair Alecia Wells were also in attendance for the Food Fair and Coronation.