St. John Carnival ignites the spirit of celebration

Jamaican singer-songwriter Koffee performing in the US Virgin Islands on July 3.
Jamaican singer-songwriter Koffee performing in the US Virgin Islands on July 3.
Photo courtesy USVI Department of Tourism/Rudy LaPlace

The United States Virgin Islands (USVI) Department of Tourism said on Wednesday that St. John Carnival, the pinnacle of holiday season festivities, drew crowds of enthusiastic revelers to the vibrant streets of Cruz Bay for an extravaganza of sensational concerts, delectable cuisine, and the highly anticipated carnival parade and fireworks.

The department said the event showcased the “rich cultural heritage of St. John, captivating audiences with a kaleidoscope of vibrant performances and immersive cultural experiences.”

The festivities kicked off with the exhilarating Panorama, the renowned steel band competition that filled the air with infectious rhythms and melodies, the Department of Tourism said.

Simultaneously, it said the food fair opened its gates, tantalizing taste buds with a mouthwatering array of local cuisine, drawing crowds of food enthusiasts.

On July 2, USVI Department of Tourism said the island came alive with the spirited and energetic celebration of J’ouvert, as revelers embraced the joyous atmosphere and danced to pulsating rhythms that echoed through the streets.

The true essence of St. John’s culture was on full display on July 3, as the island commemorated Emancipation Day with a “captivating fusion of local cuisine, storytelling, traditional Quelbe music performances, and dynamic quadrille and maypole dancing,” USVI Department of Tourism said.

“This day served as a vibrant tribute to the island’s history and heritage,” it said.

USVI Department of Tourism said the grand culmination of St. John Carnival unfolded on July 4, Independence Day, with a “dazzling display of vibrant costumes and captivating performances.”

Leading this year’s village line-up were Kes the Band, and GRAMMY-award-winning Jamaican singer-songwriter Koffee, whose mesmerizing talent and infectious energy took the stage by storm on July 3.

USVI Department of Tourism said local talent shined bright as Adam O, Karnage and R. City brought the crowd live throughout the week.

Additionally, performances from Afrobeats artist Flavour marked a first for the territory, while Skinny Fabulous and Nailah Blackman provided the grand finale of the carnival village on July 4, “adding to the electrifying atmosphere of celebration and joy,” USVI Department of Tourism said.

Joseph Boschulte, commissioner of the US Virgin Islands Department of Tourism, expressed delight.

“St. John Carnival is a shining example of our vibrant culture and the warm hospitality of our community,” he said. “The performances and festivities captivate visitors from near and far, providing an unparalleled experience of our rich heritage.

“We are proud to share the spirit of St. John with the world through this remarkable celebration,” Boschulte added.

USVI Department of Tourism said St. John Carnival continues to be a highlight on the Caribbean calendar, attracting visitors from around the globe to revel in the spirit of celebration, cultural richness and warm hospitality of the US Virgin Islands.

“The unforgettable performances by the group of talented artists, combined with the lively atmosphere and immersive cultural experiences, have solidified St. John Carnival as a must-attend event for locals and visitors alike,” it said.

Ian Turnbull, director of festivals, added, “St. John Carnival embodies the essence of celebration and camaraderie. Our performers, organizers and volunteers work tirelessly to create an unforgettable experience for all who attend.

“This year’s carnival was a resounding success, bringing together people from diverse backgrounds to revel in the beauty and vibrancy of our island,” he said.