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What Rain? Virgin Islanders Brave Stormy Weather to Play Mas During 70th Anniversary of V.I. Carnival

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CHARLOTTE AMALIE, ST. THOMAS — The weather forecast was projected the night before: it would rain heavy on Saturday for the entire day, possibly canceling the combined Children’s and Adults parade scheduled for the 70th V.I. Carnival. But though the predicted forecast was accurate, with heavy rains postponing the official start of the parade, at about 12:30 p.m. Saturday organizers announced that the event had started and participating entries were on the parade route making their way to Post Office Square, where dignitaries and other attendees were gathered.

With umbrellas in hand, attendees were unimpressed by the rain, which had eased from the showers that postponed the event’s start though a periodic drizzle continued throughout the day. The entries began with the Children’s parade and flowed smoothly for the rest of the day Saturday, ending after 5:00 p.m. 

What it show it was. From the children’s showcase — which boasted some of carnival’s most recognizable performers, among them the Superior Court Rising Stars Youth Steel Orchestra, to the adults with multiple entries reveling with high energy — the event pleased attendees at home and the thousands who watched from abroad through the V.I. Consortium and WTJX.

It was the first carnival in the U.S. Virgin Islands since Covid-induced lockdowns canceled such festivities around the world since 2020. Even in February there was uncertainty relative to whether an event would be held at all, and Governor Albert Bryan told the Consortium that if a scaled back carnival were to be announced, it would probably not include parades and jouvert.

Yet both of those events were part of the festivities, as the V.I. Dept. of Tourism’s Division of Festivals, which is responsible for organizing the territory’s carnival and festivals, scrambled to mesh together an effort that was worthy of the 70th Anniversary of carnival while keeping in mind the presence of Covid-19.

Recording artists Kes, Beres Hammond, Patrice Roberts and R. City were among the highlights of this year’s Carnival Village, which ended on Sunday. The annual boat race held on the Charlotte Amalie waterfront was also part of the activities, with large crowds cheering on their favored speed boats. Elsewhere, a myriad of privately-funded events added excitement to the season, including club events and shows on boats, among others.

Governor Albert Bryan was out in the main square Saturday during the parade speaking to media and greeting individuals. His cabinet members were seen enjoying the parade, and First Lady Yolanda Bryan had a great time as well, dancing as entries made their way to the square.

Mr. Bryan thanked all those involved for making the event possible, and spoke about the Beres Hammond show, which the governor said he really enjoyed. 

Yet with all the good times this season, Mr. Bryan wanted to get back to work. “I love carnival, but I’m a workaholic. I’m ready to get back to Monday; we have a lot of work to do,” he told Consortium parade hosts Saturday.

Below, videos from our live coverage of the 2022 V.I. Carnival Parade:

 

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