With more than 30 booths, the village embraces center stage during the final week of Carnival with live nightly entertainment. Local and regional bands perform for hours at a time, attracting family, friends and acquaintances. But it is the offering of scrumptious native and Caribbean delicacies, exotic desserts and international culinary delights that really tempts the palate, induces nostalgia and thus, attracts the populace. For the little ones, there is the Children’s Village with Coney Island type amusement rides and games of chance for the first time or seasoned “player.”
No matter from whence you hail, there is something in Carnival Village for everyone. Old friendships are renewed and past relationships are rekindled. This is the central meeting ground of revelers, from which no one ever leaves hungry or thirsty, “IT’LL BE FRESH AND HOT – STRAIGHT FROM THE POT.” For some, the fun is in just meeting and greeting people, while for others it is the eating, drinking and taking in the fabulous music. One is easily mesmerized and unable to decide from the haunting and tempting aromas of Carnival pleasure. Join in the nightly excitement!!!Cultural Night
A very popular family oriented event during the Virgin Islands Carnival celebration is Cultural Night, which is held at the Lionel Roberts Stadium. This free event is enjoyed by all ages and sectors of the community. Schools, organizations, groups, troupes and individuals perform on stage displaying various aspects of Virgin Islands tradition and culture. If you are a lover of tradition and culture, or if you are a visitor and wish to learn about this aspect of the Virgin Islands, then this is the night for you. Entertainment includes Quadrille Dancers, Maypole Dancers, the Tropical Masqueraders, the Traditional Indians, the Zulus and fire baton twirlers. Visitors and residents get an insight into the past, present and future of Virgin Islands culture and some mainstays of Carnival. Milo’s Kings, a band that is always associated with traditional and cultural music, provides the musical entertainment ranging from quelbe to calypso.Traditional Games
Tee Toe Tum, Three Hole Nogle, Pudding, Hoople Race, Two-Wheel Barrow, among others, are games that offer a glimpse into the past. Thus, the Traditional Games readily lends itself to wholesome family interaction. Introduced to playtime from the past, children are eager to participate in the games their elders played as youngsters. Grandparents and parents reminisce and take pride explaining the games, thereby passing on their knowledge. The Traditional Games had its genesis during the 1999 Carnival. The theme for that year was “Going Back in Time for Carnival 1999.” Sometime before the Carnival activities were to begin, the Executive Director, Caswil D. Callendar, thought of implementing the “Old Time Games.” The following year the name was changed from Old Time Games to Traditional Games, to avoid the impression that it was only for the older folks in the community. In 2004, the starting time was changed from 1:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. to avoid the early afternoon heat. The Traditional Games reflects the motto of the Virgin Islands Carnival Committee, “Striving Towards Cultural Excellence.” Its mission is to preserve and promote Virgin Islands culture and also to enhance U.S. Virgin Islands tourism.Cultural Fair
Fragrant smells abound as people colorfully dressed in cultural madras outfits move about excitedly carrying their favorite plants, foods, pastries, candies or handmade crafts. Everyone is gathered to taste the cultural dishes, meet friends they haven’t seen in years or just walk around taking in the sights and aromas.
Vendors are usually at the site from about five a.m., setting up their wares under tents situated along the outer perimeter of the Emancipation Garden. Tables are spread with beautiful tablecloths, laden with pots of crab and rice, kallalloo, roast pork, conch, fried fish, Johnny cakes, fried chicken, pates, tamarind & gooseberry preserves, cakes and tarts, in an eye catching display that says, “come over and have a taste.” Within the Garden, there are original local crafts, such as handmade dolls, crocheted clothing, handmade jewelry, candles, etc. On the outer southern side of the Garden, are a large variety of local plants and produce.
At the Cultural Fair, people arrive early to get the best of the savory dishes and other items, some of which will be packaged and sent to their relatives off island. Others come to the fair to have a good time, listening to the sweet sounds of Milo’s Kings or the St. Thomas All Stars Steelband. The fair officially opens at noon giving special recognition to the honoree, who was chosen for their participation and contributions to the Fair over the years. Government officials along with Carnival Royalty and Carnival officials are all in attendance, while participants anxiously await the announcement of the winners in such categories as native candies, cakes and pastries, plants, produce, arts and crafts, Special Food Contest and Best Dressed Fair participant. It will be a day well spent – enjoying our culture, a variety of foods and sweet, pulsating rhythms – what more could one ask for?