Good Morning, Good Morning! And Happy Monday to you all! We spent the majority of our afternoon and evening celebrating with the St. John community in Cruz Bay during the first kick-off to Carnival Food Fair since 2019. And it was absolutely magical. So, I wanted to share some of those incredible moments with all of you out there who couldn’t be in attendance on this incredible Sunday Funday on St. John!
These dog days of summer are the longest, and hottest, of the year. Especially in the heart of Cruz Bay. But, that didn’t stop dozens of vendors and hundreds of patrons and revelers from showing up in Franklin Powell Park and the roads adjacent to it for the triumphant return of the Food Fair.
The vendors were set up along the road in front of the Post Office and then along the water line leading from the Battery all the way down to the ferry dock. At each and every booth, you could find incredible food, drink, produce, locally made and sourced jams, juices and hot sauces and BIG smiles from all of the vendors in their booths during the hottest time of the afternoon.
The energy in town was as hot as the Caribbean sun that beat down on us. The heat of the day didn’t matter. Carnival is BACK!
Teddy and I strolled through the festivities, entering through the gate near the customs lot and perused the entire string of booths, filled with diverse and flavorful offerings. We walked, stopping to chat with some friends and hug others along the way, as we narrowed down the most important decision of the day: Lunch 🙂
Among the food selections were stewed conch, mutton and oxtail, pate filled with warmly spiced conch, lobster, chicken, beef, vegetables and salt fish, curried goat, lobster and chicken, johnny cakes, mac and cheese, potato stuffing, rice and peas, callaloo stew, goat water, sweet breads and cakes, plantains and SO much more!
Traditional fresh pressed juices of sour sop, tamarind and sorrel lined many of the tables with homemade ginger beer and lemonade…some in large jugs and served over ice. And others in their own bottles, hand poured and labeled with love.
I noticed a booth touting a variety of home made Coquito (a creamy coconut based alcoholic beverage that resembles a lighter version of egg nog). The beautiful soul behind the counter asked if I would like a sample and, although I had already settled on the novel PISTACIO variety, I tried it anyway at her insistence. You guys, this was the best thing I have ever drank in my life!
Teddy and I eventually settled on our lunch selections and wandered down to the beach in front of High Tide for a little picnic. He went with chicken pate and goat water (a decadent and warmly spiced goat stew). I went with a conch pate, a saltfish pate and a curried goat plate that was overflowing with warm, green curried goat, the best mac and cheese I have ever had, a slightly sweet and perfectly textured potato stuffing, rice and peas and tender plantains (no, I didn’t eat it all in one sitting 🙂 ).
After we enjoyed our lunch, we wandered back to the food fair in search of some shelter from the sun while we waited in town for Pan-O-Rama to start. We posted up at Cruz Bay Landing for a few drinks with Eileen and John, owners of Garden By The Sea B&B, at Cruz Bay Landing to waste an hour away out of the hot sun. And as the sun went down, we wandered over to the Carnival Village at the customs lot, and found a parking lot transformed into revelry and celebration for Virgin Islanders of all ages!
Three steel pan teams competed in a jovial musical manner for the prize of top pan players while the crowd of on lookers swayed and smiled with pride. And, as the sky grew darker, our very own Love City Pan Dragons took center stage…
…And, Yisrael Petersen and his team of mini Mokojumbies joined in the fun.
Now, I don’t know if you remember the video of these dedicated kiddos near the ferry dock from just six short months ago, but if you go back and watch that before watching the following video of their performance last night, you can SEE how hard they have worked this year! These kids ROCKED it last night!
All in all, the Food Fair was everything we all needed it to be. The food, the drinks, the music, the TOGETHERNESS. It was beautiful. If you have never visited St. John during Carnival, I highly recommend putting it on your list of things to do and see on island. This week, the Village opens on July 30 with four more nights of music, two parades and fireworks on the Fourth of July to follow. Have a great Monday everyone! But first, enjoy this little video of the Mokojumbies and Love City Pan Dragons performing at the kick off to festival!