Every year Carnival has a theme and 2017 celebrates our Centennial anniversary when the Virgin Islands officially became a part of the United States. St. Thomas is home to one of the largest festivals in the whole Caribbean and features food, games, music, and entertainment for people of all ages. It is an annual highlight on the island and visitors come from all over the world to be a part of our month long Carnival celebrations.
You can’t go to a Carnival celebration without experiencing j’ouvert. J’ouvert means ‘daybreak’ in French. It’s a massive street party that starts before dawn and lasts well after sunrise. The atmosphere is electric and the air is filled with the music of local calypso bands supplying the soundtrack to the festivities.
There are actually two parades for Carnival attendees to check out: the adults’ parade and the children’s parade. There are adults’ parades on all three of the Virgin Islands, but the one on St. Thomas is the largest. It can last for many hours and features gorgeous, colorful costumes, performance troupes, and is full of great music. The children’s parade is sure to delight one and all. Specially dedicated children’s parades are found on St. Thomas and St. Croix. The parade is made up of kids of all ages dressed in elaborate, fun costumes and dancing to steel pan music. It’s a wonderful experience for both young and old!
If you’re traveling with children, be sure to treat them to Family Fun Day on Sunday, April 16th. The activities for the day include Best Dressed Doll and the ever popular Toddler Derby, in addition to loads of fun traditional games.
The Carnival Village is full of a wide variety of fantastic entertainment for all ages. For those of you with children, stop by and let them ride the amusement park rides and play games while you enjoy a delicious cocktail. It’s sure to put a smile on everyone’s faces! The Village is open from April 21st – 29th.
Don’t miss our food fair during the Carnival celebrations. If you’ve never been to the island before but have stumbled upon our blog, you’ll know by now how outstanding the cuisine of the Virgin Islands is. The Carnival food fair gives you the opportunity to sample local favorites like goat water, conch fritters, and fraco. You’ll also have the chance to try local dishes from neighboring islands like Puerto Rico, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago and more.
We’ve said it before, Carnival has something for everyone. The quelbe tramp is especially for seniors on the island. Quelbe is the national music of the Virgin Islands, a high-energy, feel-good music that you just can’t help dancing to. Watch the venerable St. Thomians bust a move on April 25th.
There’s so much fantastic music to be heard during the Carnival celebration. The Caribbean is full of many wonderful musical styles that get your feet moving to the beat, but none is as famous as reggae. Originating from Jamaica, reggae spread throughout the islands to the rest of the world. Be sure to check out the St. Thomas Reggae Fest while you’re in town for that authentic island flavor on April 26th.
Like reggae, the steel pan is synonymous with the Caribbean. Once you hear the first few notes played by the talented St. Thomian steel pan players, you won’t be able to stop dancing! The Steel Pan Jamboree is the event to go to experience first hand just how good these beats are. Check it out on Sunday, April 23rd.
To finish off the month-long Carnival celebrations, be sure to check out the stunning fireworks at the Charlotte Amalie harbor on the last day of the festivities. Starting at 9 pm, you’ll be able to watch the sky light up in an absolutely stupendous fireworks display – the best in the Caribbean! It’s the perfect way to wind up a memorable Carnival season.
If you find that even after attending the best that St. Thomas’ Carnival has to offer but you still want more, there’s always a fantastic beach party the Sunday after Carnival. Hit the beach and sway to the sound of authentic Caribbean beats while enjoying a few drinks at one of the island’s picturesque beaches. You won’t regret it and we promise it’s the stuff great memories are made of!
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Aslin has lived or traveled all across North America but has somehow always come back to her roots. “I love to travel and I love different kinds of foods.” While stationed in Nebraska, she became a beer connoisseur and New Jersey introduced her to delicious Greek and Mediterranean foods. She fell in love with afternoon tea because of her yearly travels to British Colombia. The idea for a food tour on St. Thomas came from her experience on a food tour in Seattle.
St. Thomas is finally receiving recognition for its delicious and unique cuisine and Sauer’s goal is to highlight the island’s gastronomy. “The idea behind St. Thomas Food Tours came from my travels. I noticed other places offered food tours, and St. Thomas didn’t have one. I said why not? We have the history and we surely have the food. It’s the perfect recipe for a fantastic food tour.” St. Thomas Food Tours