An Observation Experiment at the Agriculture and Food Fair: People Using the Event to Making a Fashion Statement
The place I observed is the Agriculture and Food Fair on February 13 and February 15 at 2 pm on both days.  Every February, St. Croix hosts the largest agricultural festival at Rudolph Shulterbrandt Agricultural Complex in Estate Lower Love. I observed the Agriculture Food Fair because all I heard about Fair was that it is a fashion show and everyone is dressed to impress. I mainly examined the entrance and the park. Being that I attended fair almost every year, I expected to see everyone dressed up but still see casual dressing. I argue that some locals on Saint Croix attend the Agriculture Fair just to make a fashion statement or appearance.
It was a usual, hot and sunny day on the fairgrounds. The delicious aroma of the different local foods was wafting through the air as I walk towards the crowded entrance. As I entered the fairgrounds the first thing I saw was of course a swarm of people everywhere. I then leaned against the gate and observed people and their whereabouts. Some by the different food booths, some dancing by the stage enjoying themselves, the kids playing in the bouncy, and some of the elders on the trolley. The others were just standing around associating with friends and family. Standing at the top I could’ve seen a bigger crowd of people just over the bridge. As I walked down the path it felt like I was on the runway because everyone was just standing on both sides just staring. Since it was so many people to observe all at the same time, I mainly focused on four groups of people. Group A was a group of girls that called themselves “The Chocolate Factory”, Group B was a group of boys that called themselves “Team Tru”, Families and different organizations. As I walked through the fair there was many people that I could have chosen from but these specific groups more address my topic because they not only show the overly dressed but those that dressed simple.
Each year some people seems to attend the Agriculture Fair to look cute and show off their clothing more than to enjoy our culture. Some locals see Fair more like a fashion show and a place to just chill with their friends. For example, a little boy’s outfit caught my eyes. He was sitting in a stroller wearing timberlands (boots), a baby jersey and long jeans. He wasn’t even walking or playing with the other kids just sitting in the stroller looking adorable.The other children were dressed as typical children in sundresses, jeans, and a t shirt. As I proceeded to cross the bridge I came in contact with these stunning young ladies better known as the “Chocolate Factory”. I know these young ladies from residence hall. When I first moved onto Residence Hall we all looked out for each other and decided to stick together. Of course I expected to see overly dressed individuals but these ladies took the cake! One was dressed in a cocktail dress with her back out and gladiator shoes. Another was dressed in a black and white bodycon dress with short pointed heels. The other three wore a crop top with boyfriend jeans, maxi skirt and pencil skirt. They also wore their hair in buns, box braids and curly sew-ins. If it was a fashion show they would be slaying the runway.
Nowadays it is common to see men wearing chains, bracelets and earrings like women. But these guys that I saw overdid it with the jewelry. While I ate my Johnny cakes and chicken I observed a group of boys sitting on the bench. Two of the young men wore a white t-shirt with a khaki pants and some timberlands. The others wore a black t-shirt, dark jeans and some Jordan sneakers. The boys weren’t that bad when it came to their clothing, but what amazed me was their jewelry. Among them, they were several bracelets, long chains, and a ring on every finger. No exaggeration but almost every finger (except for the thumbs) had a ring! Other than the jewelry, the guys were a bit simple this year. My brothers are a part of “Team Tru,” and I’ve seen them dress up before. That is why I determine that the guys dressed pretty simple this year.
The best part of the fair was seeing the family members not only stick together but some of them dressed alike. Especially those dressed in African and madras fabrics. They was basically representing their culture through their clothing, which was awesome. A family that dresses together stays together. Kids that dress together always look cute, but when their parents dress in coordinating outfits, the final ensemble is memorable. Like my father always said, “All ah we is one,” and that’s exactly what this family portrayed to me. This one family that I focused on consist of five members. The mother wore an off the shoulder, cocktail African print dress with her natural hair flying in the wind and the father wore an African print shirt with a khaki pants and dress shoes. The teenage daughter wore an African print romper with gladiator shoes and the younger daughter wore a thin strap African print shirt and jean skirts with jelly bean shoes. The son wore something similar to his father except he wore Nike sneakers. They all walked with pep in their step happily down the corridor.
On the other hand, the show can’t go on without the queens! There’s was no way that I could’ve passed them straight with their stunning dresses. As I was walking down the corridor I met with some of the contenders for Ms. UVI. They were all dressed in white dresses with a little bit of madras around their waist. They also had on some dashing heels. Majority of them were wearing wedges and few was wearing stilettos.They also wore their sash. Some of their hair was in sew-ins and messy hair buns.
Last but not least I visited a few organizations. I visited Innovative booth, The University of the Virgin Islands and the National Guard. They all wore a t-shirt that represents their organization except for the National Guard. They wore their uniforms. Otherwise there was a lot of organizations or businesses in uniform.
Judging from the four groups that I observed, I can say that some people go to the fair to show their appearance and draw attention with the clothes they wear but appearance doesn’t matter to everyone. The simplest group was of course the organizations. I do feel being that they didn’t really have a choice is the reason for them dressing simple. I did learn that not everyone attends the fair to make a fashion statement but to enjoy the foods and activities provided. But I really wanted to know “Where did guys get the money for all those rings?” and “Is it really necessary?” I even watched some of my friends spend a lot of money on one outfit just to attend the fair and wear it for one day. Fair is already expensive so maybe if people didn’t spend so much on clothing, they could afford to try out many of the natural products, jewelry, food and local drinks from some of the vendors.