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J'ouvert, Better Late Than Never

April 27, 2005 B Some came on skates, some came on bicycles, a few came in speedboats, one came on a unicycle. They, and thousands of others, flooded Veterans Drive Thursday morning in a sea of bright color as the 2005 Carnival J'ouvert got under way.
In keeping with custom, if not tradition, it was late. But nobody cared. And it rained, and nobody cared. Good spirits ruled as the thongs of soon-to-be trampers waited on the waterfront for the bands to appear. Throughout the happy crowd, revelers could be heard echoing a chorus or two of the Cecil "Duke of Iron" Anderson's famous, "Rain Can't Stop the Carnival."
The makeshift food and drink stands did a land office business, and some civic-minded folks handed out free bottles of ice cold water. Carnival was definitely "Alive in 2005."
P'your Passion started things off about 7 a.m., followed by De Sugar Band and Jam Band. About that time, a light rain began to fall, but the tramp began with the revelers holding up their faces to enjoy the sprinkle.
The early hour of J'ouvert B supposedly, it starts at 4 a.m. B makes the celebration special. Some folks have been partying all night, others are wiping sleep from their eyes. Whatever, the early hour forms a kind of bond: "Look at us, here we are dancing at this hour!"
Celebrants stretched out all over the waterfront tramping in time, dressed in most anything — Indian outfits, hot pink shorts were big this year, spangles everywhere, a few camouflage outfits, some waved tambourines, some had cowbells, and everyone greeted everyone else. It really didn't seem to matter if you knew somebody or not.
Keith Sanzenbach, of Manhattan, looked on in wonder. "This is great," he said, "they don't have parades like this in New York."
The 2005 Carnival celebration will wind up with the Children's Parade on Friday, followed by the Adults' Parade on Saturday. And the village, Calypsonianville — honoring the Virgin Islands own calypsonians will be open both nights.

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