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The Carnival tradition in St. Thomas began in 1912 during the final years of Danish occupation and lapsed during World War I. Revived in 1952, Virgin Islands Carnival has become the second largest festival in the Caribbean. It is based on the ancient African traditions of parading and moving in circles through villages in costumes and masks. Parading around villages was believed to bring good fortune and appease deceased relatives. Carnival masks and costumes are often made with natural elements, like grass or shells, to represent the spiritual forces of nature. Feathers symbolize the ability to rise above misfortune. African drum rhythms, large puppets, stick fighters, and stilt dancers add to eclectic and colorful mix of activities. Be sure to reserve your Picara Pearl suite in time for the festivities. It's the most anticipated cultural event of the year not to be missed!
Coming April 2018
Video: Virgin Islands Carnival, St. Thomas
It's a time for people to celebrate life with creative costumes, festive calypso and steel pan music, exuberant dancing, flavorful food, and colorful fireworks displays. There are amusement park rides and treats for the kids, and they even have their own parade!
For Virgin Islands Carnival 2017, the theme was “A Centennial Commemoration for our 65th Carnival Celebration" by Mr. Clement "Cain" Magras. Carnival festivities were at their climax Saturday, April 22 to Saturday, April 29, 2017. The Children's Parade and the Adults' Parade took place on April 28th and April 29th respectively along the parade route from below Main Street to Lionel Robert's Stadium.
Coming June 2018
Video: St. John Festival, St. John
There's also a Carnival celebration on a smaller scale in St. John from June to early July. Festival-goers in St. Thomas take a 15-minute ferry ride from Charlotte Amalie or Red Hook to St. John to enjoy the festivities.
The theme for St. John Festival 2017 was "The Present and Past in Ways Never Foreseen for St. John Festival 2017" by Ashley Doway. The St. John Festival usually includes some entries from the Virgin Islands Carnival. Festivities were at their climax Saturday, June 24 to Tuesday, July 4th. The Festival Parade took place on July 4th in the St. John National Park Field, Cruz Bay.
A month-long series of dazzling pageants and talent shows are held to choose royalty to rein over the festival. Fun events such as a boat race, greased pig contest and toddlers derby entertain everyone at the festivities. A series of elimination contests to crown top performers are called Calypso Tents. Calypsonians offer satirical commentary on the state of the islands, often times mocking the shenanigans of politicians. Other popular events held during Carnival is J’ouvert, a morning jump up, a food fair presenting the islands’ best traditional cuisine and a competition to crown the King and Queen of the parade troupes. A children's and adults' parade close the lively month with brilliantly costumed and decorated troupes and floats.
St. Thomas, Virgin Islands CARNIVAL SCHEDULE 2017
St. John, Virgin Islands Festival Schedule 2017
Video: Carnival Cultural Fair in Emancipation Garden
'Everybody love the Carnival, No don't stop de Carnival, Do as you like, but leave my Carnival, All West Indians love their Carnival, Everybody bound to have their fun, No rain at all can stop de Carnival, Not even hurricanes can stop de Carnival because all de Creole de love their Carnival.' ~ Don't Stop the Carnival by Duke of Iron. Calypso theme song for Carnival 1952.
ST. THOMAS ANNUAL EVENTS
January – Bordeaux Farmers Rastafari Agricultural & Cultural Vegan Food Fair
January – Water Island Classical Music Festival
February – St. Thomas Synagogue's Annual Antiques & Art Auction
March – International Regatta
April – Virgin Islands Carnival
May – Virgin Islands Game Fishing Club's Memorial Day Tournament
June – King of the Wing
July – Coal Pot Cook-Off
July – Annual Bastille Day Kingfish Tournament
July – Healthy Encores Lifestyle Festival
July – Virgin Islands Game Fishing Club's July Open Billfish Tournament
August – Texas Society of the Virgin Islands Chili Cook-Off
August – USVI Open/Atlantic Blue Marlin Tournament
November – Charter Yacht Show
November – St. Thomas-St. John Agriculture and Food Fair
December – Miracle on Main Street
2017 Festival Village Line-Up
Festival Village Honoree: Robert O'Connor, Jr.
June 28: Ish Band, Cool Sessions Brass, Onyan
June 29: CMK, Extreme, Stylee Band
June 30: Express Band, Alison Hinds, BDJ - Daddy Jones
July 1: Ricky T, Spectrum Band, Poizon
July 2: T-Vice, Small Axe, Triple Kay
July 3: VIBES, Romaine Vigo, Rock City, Asa Banton
July 4: Ah We Band, Cool Sessions Brass, MX Prime, Destra
All events start at 8:00 p.m.