USVI CELEBRATES 60 YEARS OF CARNIVAL
ST. THOMAS, US Virgin Islands (May 3, 2012) – Seated aboard an American Airlines’ Boeing 737 service from St. Croix to Miami, I reflected on the amazing ride I enjoyed at the 60th staging of the annual extravaganza known as Carnival on St. Thomas.
I was flying from St. Croix because flights from its sister island, St. Thomas, to the US mainland were as packed as the streets during Carnival. The milestone event elevated hotel occupancies, sold out car rentals, and packed airline seats. Lines outside eateries were long and jolly as business bubbled during the past week.
The territory’s tourism stakeholders, including hoteliers, taxi drivers, restaurant owners, and neighbor island operators of a Barbados stall at the Carnival Village, were in almost perpetual motion for the extravaganza which was staged at the end of the winter tourist season.
My responsibility over the few days – in addition to consuming flying fish and Johnny Cakes – was to accompany, along with another colleague, media professionals from within and without the region, as they took a taste of Virgin Islands Carnival for the first time.
They weren’t disappointed as the territory delivered one of its best, from the creativity of the music, to the charm of both the children and adult’s parades with choreographed routines for the judges.
The classy, inclusive, Virgin Islanders enjoy celebrating Carnival with their regional neighbors.
St. Thomas is also home to numerous West Indians who were given an extra treat at the Carnival Village as patrons jumped to the likes of Destra from Trinidad and Tobago, Carimi from Haiti, krosfyah from Barbados, and the Small Axe Band from St. Kitts and Nevis.
Our media group stayed at the Ritz Carlton resort in the east of the island, where the reporters roamed the environmentally friendly property. Located on a Blue Flag-certified beach, the elegant Ritz Carlton offered customer pampering consistent with the brand’s global promise.
Tired but happy residents of the territory, after several days of bacchanal, will resume their professional responsibilities but with indelible memories of a very special Carnival, they will no doubt anticipate more celebrations on the horizon.
In addition to the numerous cultural events celebrated in the Caribbean, St. John’s Carnival will be held over the July 4 weekend.
And for the people of St. Croix, their Carnival will be staged at the end of the year.
Peppered between the two festivals, you’ll no doubt find many a town in the Caribbean, or a city in the US or Canada, where Caribbean nationals are taking a jump and a wave.
It is abundantly clear, that across the territory and across the globe, “de vibes cyan done”.
CAPTION: Krystal Setorie of the Caribbean Ritual Dancers celebrates Carnival in St. Thomas.