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!
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 V.I. Carnival 2017, the Virgin Islands Carnival Committee has selected the theme “A Centennial Commemoration for our 65th Carnival Celebration" by Mr. Clement "Cain" Magras. Carnival festivities will be at their climax Saturday, April 22 to Saturday, April 29, 2017.
Coming June 2017
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 will soon be announced. Festivities will be at their climax Saturday, June 24 to Tuesday, July 4th. The Festival Parade takes 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: Annual 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 – 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
May – Friends of the V.I. National Park Beach-to-Beach Power Swim
May – Arts Alive Annual Spring Arts & Crafts Festival
July – Healthy Encores Lifestyle Festival
July – Annual Bastille Day Kingfish Tournament
July – Virgin Islands Game Fishing Club's July Open Billfish Tournament
August – Texas Society Chili Cook-off
August – USVI Open/Atlantic Blue Marlin Tournament
November – Charter Yacht Show
November – Arts Alive Holiday Arts and Crafts Festival
November – St. Thomas-St. John Agriculture and Food Fair
December – Miracle on Main Street
2017 Carnival Village Line-Up
April 21 DJ: Eddie, Milo's Kings, When, Hypasounds, Fina Faze and Krosfyah
April 22 DJ: Tony T, Avengers, Sisa, Poizon
April 23 DJ: Cypha, Elizabeth Wattley, Pumpa and the Unit, Elakru with Tizzy,
April 24 DJ: Red Lion, Showtime, BDJ, Vibes
April 25 DJ: Cypha, Flambo Combo, Cool Breeze, Shaw, WCK
April 26 DJ: Nature Boy & DJ Black, the Zone, Marino Castellano, DJ Akout #1, Asa Banton
April 27 DJ: Pete, Imagination Brass, Ateam, King Bubba, Ricardo Drue, Shurwayne Winchester, Stylee Band
April 28 DJ: Red Lion, Rudy Live, Star Martin, Cool Session, Spectrum, Ateam with Olatunji, Lyrikal, Patrice Roberts
April 29 DJ: Kuntry, Top Notch, Bacchanal Band With Extreme, Destra, Fadda Fox
All events start at 6:00 p.m.