Carnival Traditions in St. Thomas, USVI
Exciting! Colorful! Fun! This year the 60th annual St. Thomas Carnival will be held April 22-28, 2012. More than just a celebration, it’s a tribute to history, culture and the perseverance of customs despite oppression.
Carnival kicks off close to The Preserve at Botany Bay on Sunday at 10 a.m. in the Charlotte Amalie Harbor with water sports activities. Later in the day there is a steel band jamboree at Lionel Roberts Stadium.
During Carnival the residents of St. Thomas express themselves in full force, with calypso shows, pageants, mocko jumbies (stilt-walkers in flamboyant costumes), masks and much more. The parades are the highlight of Carnival, showcasing extravagant costumes and performances:
• The Pre-Teen Tramp starts Tuesday evening and runs from Rothschild Francis Square (Market Square) to Children’s Village, followed by …
• … the Senior Citizens’ Quelbe Tramp, which starts at Rothschild Francis Square and ends in Carnival Village.
• Kids 2-years-old and up can participate in the Children’s Parade on Friday morning where they dance and march in costumes from Rothschild Francis Square to Lionel Roberts Stadium.
• Saturday morning marks the Adult’s Parade, which starts at Western Cemetery and ends at Lionel Roberts Stadium.
In between parades, Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, transforms into a hot spot with food and drink found at colorful booths in Carnival Village’s food and art fair. You can sample seafood creations, fruit tarts, jonny cakes (a local delicacy – just ask anyone) and many other foods, drinks and treats native to the Caribbean. As you wander, you can also buy crafts and art made by locals.
Throughout Carnival there are rides, games and treats in Children’s Village, and the entire week concludes with a huge fireworks display Saturday night at the harbor at 9 p.m. After fireworks, look for the exciting Calypso Spectakula/Last Lap starting at 10 p.m. and lasting well into Sunday morning.
Every day and every night offers something new for the Carnival participant (grab a schedule here). Carnival is exhilarating … and exhausting! Plan to head back to your vacation property or luxury resort when the day is done, sleep in, and then do it all over again for an entire week. It promises to be the time of your life!