St. John may be small, but it puffs up during the month of June and explodes on July 4th with the annual Carnival festival. Each of the Caribbean islands has their own form of Carnival celebration at different times of the year, and St. John’s happens to coincide with America’s Independence Day.
For 4 straight weeks the “big city” of this sleepy island welcomes thousands of visitors to celebrate life and the freedoms we share. Lively music and local food set the foundation for the festival, with Calypso, Quelbe Steelpan, Ska, and Reggae music filling our ears and Johnny Cakes, Callaloo, spicey rotis, liver pates, bush tea, and mango shakes filling our bellies.
The park in Cruz Bay comes alive with vendors selling local crafts, clothing, and jewelry and the parking lot by the immigration building transforms into what’s called the Village, a hoppin’ tropical dance club bordered by the Food Fair, a variety of vendors offering yummy goodness. The Winston Wells ballfield at Julius Sprauve school houses the stage, plus seating, to accommodate the nighttime entertainment, including Festival Princess selection, Festival Queen pageant, the Senior Variety Show, and more.
Personally I’m looking forward to the last day, when younger folk celebrate J’ouvert during the early dawn hours, the colorful parade fills the day, and the fireworks over the water, launched from a barge in the harbor, put the final finishes on a fabulous Festival for 2015. Peace!