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2012 Agrifest Scheduled for Feb. 18-20 on St. Croix

The 2012 edition of the Agriculture and Food Fair of the U.S. Virgin Islands takes place from Feb. 18 to 20, on the grounds of the Rudolph Shulterbrandt Agricultural Complex in Estate Lower Love on St. Croix.

Known by most simply as "Agrifest," the event is sponsored by the V.I. Department of Agriculture, the University of the Virgin Islands Cooperative Extension Service - which is marking its 40th anniversary - and the V.I. Department of Tourism. More information, contest details and entertainment schedules are available from the 2012 V.I. Agrifest website - www.viagrifest.org.

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The gates will be open on Saturday, Feb. 18, from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m., with the opening ceremonies scheduled for 10 a.m. A quadrille dance, where all are invited to participate, will follow. The highlight of the ceremony is the presentation of the Farmer of the Year Award. Other activities include Junior and Senior Calypso Shows, donkey cart rides and horse rides.

The gates will be open Sunday and Monday, Feb. 19 and 20, from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. The entrance fee on all three days is $6 for adults, $3 for children and $4 for senior citizens.

The main exhibit building will house a farmer's market and displays by schools and youth groups. More than 50 spaces will be filled by farmers with fruits, vegetables and other plants, and more than 30 spaces will be filled with schools and youth exhibits. Exhibits by the University of the Virgin Islands Research and Public Service component, the Virgin Islands Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Agriculture will be housed in tents.

The Agriculture and Food Fair is a showcase for locally produced agricultural products, livestock, arts and crafts and native cuisine. Throughout the weekend, fair goers can sample foods such as kallaloo, maufe, tarts, and candies and local drinks like ginger beer, sorrel, passion fruit and maubi. Agrifest provides an opportunity for residents and visitors to purchase fair t-shirts, post cards, the fair booklet and other souvenirs.

An Agrifest booklet highlights the agricultural research and cultural richness that make us unique as Virgin Islanders. It has evolved throughout the years from a simple program of the weekend's events to a valuable booklet featuring information on the latest research and environmental issues, along with poems and special local recipes. It is also a pictorial documentation of the various activities that have taken place throughout the years. Copies will be available at the fair for $5.

Residents and visitors are invited to participate in this wonderful package of family fun and entertainment planned for the 41st anniversary celebration. The family fun package includes interesting and attractive exhibits, demonstrations, entertainment, challenging competitions, rides and games, prize winning animals, delicious varieties of local food and beverages, and, of course, the fun and fellowship with friends and relatives from our neighboring island nations.

(This news release is based on information included in the Agrifest website.)