Carnival Winding Down
This is the last week of Carnival in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands. There is the Food Fair on Wednesday, Jouvert on Thursday, and parade days – Friday and Saturday. I mentioned or explained the former in previous posts, but didn’t go into much about the final days of Carnival – the parades.
Year: 90s and Early 2000s (Every April)
Place: St. Thomas, USVI
How I spent Carnival Parade days
In my younger days, I spent the parade Friday and Saturday with my family in Roosevelt Park. We used to setup our blankets in the shadiest area that we could find in the park. Then, hung out until the parade made its way up the road.
Whenever there was a band or troupe approaching, we would walk out to the street to view it with other onlookers. You could always tell when something was coming because the area would suddenly get loud with music. Then, as they passed on, the music would die down and we would head back to our area in the park and wait for the next wave of entertainment.
One thing you could always rely on during parade time, was that there were always huge gaps between the troupes. Sometimes this was caused by their timing coming up the road or just because some troupes were having soo much fun dancing in the streets (kinda like us), that they weren’t moving along fast enough.
Either way, those gaps gave us time to spend time with out family, walk around in the village, or just rest until it was time to get back up again. Being in the park, you also got to see friends who were walking through to rush to join their troupe or after they had just performed in the stadium.
The Carnival parades were a great wrap up to a long, fun month of cultural entertainment. But, that wasn’t even the best part…………
Best part of Carnival growing up
The best part for me was always on the night of the final parade. After all the troupes had walked up the street and after all the bands had cleared the roads, the Carnival Village was packed with party goers looking for one more chance to celebrate.
By 9PM on Saturday night, everybody gathered on the edge of the waterfront to turn their heads to the sky. It was the most magnificent thing you could watch. As a young child, I always thought it was the best part of the whole month. As, the fireworks lit up the sky, you knew that a great time was coming to an end.
I have so many memories of carnival, that I will likely share over time on this blog. But, those memories always carry with them, that one last night, whether I was sitting on the waterfront wall, looking over the ocean behind the Legislature, sitting in a booth at the edge of the Carnival village, or walking down the street as the night sky begun to light up.
I may not remember the specific years, but I always remembered where I was on the final night of Carnival, as the fireworks launched the end of an epic Carnival season.
All my party-goers, enjoy your last lap this week if you are celebrating in the Virgin Islands. I will be here, patiently waiting until next month, when I get a small taste of Carnival (ATL style) during Memorial Weekend.
What event do you enjoy most during the Carnival season? Mines were always the fireworks, let me know yours in the comments.