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St. John Festival Parade brings out big crowd!

Miss BVI Sharie B.Y. deCastro leads VI participation
Many groups came from St. Thomas for the parade. One group represented the United Confederation of Taino People. Photo: Lynda Lohr/ St John Source
The St John Festival parade was graced with the presence of reigning Miss BVI and Caribbean World, Sharie B.Y. deCastro (right) as well as the four contestants for the upcoming Miss BVI pageant; Raemona Maloney, Brianna Henley, Mekyla Phillips and Rosanna Chichester. At left is Miss Teen BVI, Kamyce Penn. Photo: Provided
The St John Festival parade was graced with the presence of reigning Miss BVI and Caribbean World, Sharie B.Y. deCastro (right) as well as the four contestants for the upcoming Miss BVI pageant; Raemona Maloney, Brianna Henley, Mekyla Phillips and Rosanna Chichester. At left is Miss Teen BVI, Kamyce Penn. Photo: Provided
Guy Benjamin School in Coral Bay was among the youth groups participating. The students’ signs were designed to spread the message about protecting and preserving coral reefs. Photo: Lynda Lohr/St John Source
Guy Benjamin School in Coral Bay was among the youth groups participating. The students’ signs were designed to spread the message about protecting and preserving coral reefs. Photo: Lynda Lohr/St John Source
Pan in Motion from St. Thomas play in the St. John Festival Parade on Thursday, July 4, 2013. Photo: Lynda Lohr/St John Source
Pan in Motion from St. Thomas play in the St. John Festival Parade on Thursday, July 4, 2013. Photo: Lynda Lohr/St John Source
Judy Grybowsi marches with the Gypsies for festival. Photo: Lynda Lohr/St John Source
Judy Grybowsi marches with the Gypsies for festival. Photo: Lynda Lohr/St John Source
BY LYNDA LOHR — St John Source

CRUZ BAY, St John, USVI- Hot, hot, hot describes both the weather and Thursday’s St. John Festival Parade as residents and visitors took to Cruz Bay’s streets to join in the fun.

“I’m enjoying the parade. I’m just sitting down and being relaxed,” said St. John resident Emma Penn, who was enjoying the passing scene while sitting near the Creek.

Visitors came from across the country to see what Festival was all about. Chris Suffa of Virginia Beach, Va., said he was excited to see his first Caribbean carnival.

“And I’m enjoying the sights,” he said, noting that the people watching was excellent from his spot near Cruz Bay Park.

St. Thomas resident Ronnie Lockhart, who set up base across from the V.I. National Park ballfield, had the same idea. Visiting with his family from Florida, Lockhart said waiting for the parade to start was more fun that the actual parade because the people watching was “fantastic.”

Lockhart was one of many people wearing shirts with an American flag motif. “I wear this for every fourth of July,” said Ken Bowers of Greenville, S.C., adding that he got the American flag shirt at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

The parade got off at 11:45 A.M., only 45 minutes later than scheduled. The 39 entries included the traditional royalty, majorettes, troupes and floupes, steel pan bands and much more.

Guy Benjamin School in Coral Bay was among the youth groups participating. The students’ signs were designed to spread the message about protecting and preserving coral reefs.

“And about how beautiful our island is,” Principal Brenda Dalmida said.

Caneel Bay Resort also had a marine theme with its floats and troupes celebrating the island’s fishermen.

The Westin Resort and Villas was on hand with a float that carried miniature buildings laid out like those at the resort. A revolving panel indicated day and night, and the troupe members wore blue to depict day and black for night.

Many groups came from St. Thomas for the parade. One group represented the United Confederation of Taino People, and the Gypsies and Masqueraders also danced down the parade route.

Politicians making their way up and down the street to shake hands with paradegoers weren’t as plentiful as in an election year, but Lt. Gov. Gregory Francis and his wife Cheryl were quick to greet many people.

“I look forward to celebrating with St. Johnians,” the lieutenant governor said.

The V.I. Waste Management Authority staff was busy passing out plastic bags so people could corral their garbage.

“Leave the bags on the side of the road,” advised Tessa Lewis, a VIWMA enforcement officer over from St. Croix for the day.

St. John Rescue was on hand with vehicles positioned on Veste Gade and at the Emergency Medical Service base, both in Cruz Bay. Training officer Bob Malacarne said the group also had its boat ready if needed.

“And we have cold towels, cold water,” he said, giving a long list of items on hand.

Leona Smith, who serves as the chairman of the St. John Festival and Cultural Organization as well as the island’s administrator, said before the parade started that there was no crime problems related to the Festival in the week leading up to the parade. (St John Source)

VI Participation

Meanwhile, the St John Festival parade was graced with the presence of reigning Miss BVI and Caribbean World, Sharie B.Y. deCastro as well as the four contestants for the upcoming Miss BVI pageant; Raemona Maloney, Brianna Henley, Mekyla Phillips and Rosanna Chichester.

"St John Parade was a great experience as it gave me the opportunity to be a part of the rich heritage that unites us all as Virgin Islanders. As is commonly said, we are divided by water but united by culture. It was also my first event with the young ladies vying for the prestigious Miss BVI 2013 title. Therefore, it was truly a great time getting to know them while enjoying the climax of St. John Carnival," Ms deCastro told Virgin Islands News Online.

Participation from the Virgin Islands [British] was also received from the BVI Elite Sky Dancers, according to Public Relations Officer of the Virgin Islands Festival and Fairs Committee, Lynette L. Harrigan. 

 

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