Good Morning, Good Morning! I hope that all of you out there are gearing up for a fabulous weekend filled with summertime fun! We, here in Love City are gearing up for our first full fledged Carnival since 2019! The parking lots have been closed and the booths are being built for the opening of the Village on July 30. BUT, this Sunday is (in my opinion) the BEST part of Carnival. The food, the drinks, the steel pans, the boat races and the local legends, Cool Sessions Brass, will all be a part of the fun in downtown Cruz Bay this Sunday. The vibes are in the air for an absolutely incredible Sunday Funday here on St. John!
Ahhhh, the Food Fair! The kick off of Carnival! The anticipation of the upcoming festivities will be mingling in the hot summer air with the warm smells of curry, seafood and fry cakes. I am so looking forward to this long awaited return of this previously annual event.
The Food Fair is held in Franklin Powell Park from 11AM-6PM on this Sunday, June 26. The road that winds from the Post Office to the Ferry Dock will be closed for the day. So, if you are traveling or simply heading to town to enjoy some food, drink and revelry, plan accordingly. Parking will be tough to find so taking a cab or parking at the gravel lot or Lumberyard is advisable. King Street is also closed on Sunday so driving into Cruz Bay is NOT advisable. Additionally, during this and the rest of the week’s Fourth of July and Emancipation celebration, random TSA checks will be conducted for ferry passengers traveling to and from St. John.
During the Food Fair, you can head down to the water’s edge to watch the sprint boat races, a beloved past time for St. Johnians. Prior to the pandemic and the storms, on any given Sunday, you could hear the high pitched buzzing of these miniature boats throughout Cruz Bay harbor as generations of enthusiasts gathered at the boat ramp adjacent to the fuel dock.
Afterwards, Pan O Rama, a steel pan competition, will take place in the Village (customs lot) with talented steel pan musicians of all ages joining in the fun. The competition and performances will span from 6PM to 9PM.
Over the next week and a half, visitors and residents will have a multitude of opportunities to experience Virgin Islands culture in the heart of Cruz Bay. A few highlights to add to your list of things to do this week are as follows:
- Emancipation Day Cultural Celebration in the Village- 1PM-3PM on Sunday, July 3 – Featuring the traditional VI scratch music from Quelbe Resurrection Band.
- J’Ouvert- 6AM-10AM on Saturday, July 2. Three bands will lead a parade of locals, residents and visitors throughout downtown Cruz Bay. To see the true wild spirit of the fete, put this one on your calendar.
- Fourth of July Parade- Noon on the Fourth of July- A collision of Independence Day and Emancipation Day celebrations in a parade consisting of twenty plus troupes that spans for several hours. The Fourth of July is another day where planning to drive through town is a bad idea! Most of the main thoroughfares will be closed to through traffic for the majority of the afternoon. This is ALWAYS one of the hottest days of the year so bring water, shade and sunscreen if you plan to sit outside to watch the events!
- Make sure to stop by the Village for AT LEAST one night of music. The party gets started late around these parts so get an afternoon rest in and head to town for some pre-game pates from booth #18 and some Electric Lemonade from the Shugah Shack!
Oh, and one more piece of amazing news! During a USVI Festivals press conference a few weeks ago it was announced that there WILL be FIREWORKS on the Fourth of July! I recommend getting a late table at the Terrace, Lovango Rum Bar, High Tide or La Tapa or posting up at Beach Bar or Rum Hut to get the best view of the show.
There are so many things that make St. John’s Carnival such an absolutely unique celebration. For starters, if you have been looking to experience the culture of the Virgin Islands during your visits, this is the absolute best way to immerse yourself. Food, drinks, extravagant costumes, wild revelry, dance, music and the VIBE all work together to bring the culture and history of St. John to the forefront. Additionally, St. John Carnival brings together two incredibly important celebrations of independence. Virgin Islands Emancipation Day is on the Third of July with the celebration of Independence for the United States on the Fourth. And this year, we not only celebrate these traditional freedoms…We also celebrate the freedom to gather and to dance once again during the incredible week of festivities on the horizon.