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VI Poised to Celebrate the 38th Annual Agriculture & Food Fair

With its theme "Agriculture: The Future - Yours and Mine," the Board of Directors of the 38th Annual Agriculture and Food Fair of the U.S. Virgin Islands cordially invites all residents and visitors to be a part of the largest agricultural exposition in the territory. Agrifest 2009 will be held Feb. 14 through 16, on the grounds of the Rudolph Shulterbrandt Agriculture Complex on St. Croix. The gates will open at 9 a.m. and will close at 6 p.m. on each day. Tickets are $5 for adults, $3 for seniors and $2 for children 12 years and under.

The fair opens on Saturday, Feb. 14, with the Opening Ceremony at 10 a.m. Farmer of the Year Awards will be given to the best crop and livestock farmers. Recognition Awards will be presented to Dale Mason, Gwendolyn Fludd, Grantley Samuel, We Grow Food Inc., and the V.I. Farmers' Cooperative.

The fair promises to be fun for the entire family. There will be an Agrifest Fair-Wear fashion show from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 14. From 2 p.m. on Saturday a Grand Quadrille Dance with Stanley & the Ten Sleepless Knights and the St. Croix Heritage Dancers will entertain the crowd. There will be entertainment on all three stages on the Fairgrounds. Bands include Xpress Band, UMB Soldiers, Complex Quelbe Band, Love City Pan Dragons, Inner Visions, Fusion Band, Stroka Band and much more.

In the food area - the Gwendolyn Fludd Pavilion - there will be 85 food and refreshment vendors. The Fludd Pavilion offers the opportunity to taste native dishes such as maufe, souse, red peas soup, kallaloo and fish pudding. Treats such as benye, red grout, sugar cake, tarts, jaw bone, stewed tamarind and lozenge will be available. Drinks like sorrel, maubi, ginger beer, passion fruit and golden apple juice will also be available. Attendees can learn how to make sweet potato and banana dumplings, lentil rice burgers and other dishes at the food demonstrations.

Eighty-one spaces in the Farmers' Market will have fresh vegetables, fruits and ornamental plants. This year, the market is named in honor of Grantley Samuel. Samuel is a young farmer with the drive and passion to succeed in the agriculture business.

The cultural area features the ole-time shop, the stone oven and the Homestead House. Bread, roast pork and roast goat prepared in the stone oven will be on sale. Bread and cheese and bush tea can be purchased from the ole-time shop. There will be activities and many interactive games for the children. "Auntie Janice" and Larry Bough will compete in the "Beal Tire" race.

The Livestock Pavilion is named in honor of the Virgin Islands Farmers' Cooperative Inc. Peacocks, ducks, emu, rabbits, ponies, sheep, goats, donkeys, pigs, cattle and birds of all descriptions can be seen at the Fair.

Caribbean neighbors will be exhibiting from Antigua, St. Kitts, Nevis, St. Lucia, Guyana, Grenada, Puerto Rico, Dominica and the BVI. There will also be Junior and Senior Calypso shows and performances by the West End Masqueraders and Guardian of Culture Moko Jumbies. 4-H youth activities will include hay bale decorating contest, poetry and essay competition, shoe box float competition, 4-H fitting and showmanship demonstration, mini-rodeo and much more.

The UVI exhibit area will include interactive displays such as the "Agri-Jeopardy" and "Who Wants to be an Agriculturist" games. Attendees can play and win prizes.

Agrifest is sponsored by the V.I. Department of Agriculture, UVI Cooperative Extension Service, V.I. Department of Tourism, HOVENSA, AARP, Innovative, Diageo, VI Department of Health and Tropical Shipping. For more information, contact Clarice Clarke at 692-4060.