Carnival on St. Thomas may have been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but Virgin Islanders can still have fun while maintaining social distancing. The U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism’s Division of Festivals has launched “Home Wuk,” a series of online social gatherings designed to create a sense of community, camaraderie and a “virtual” Carnival experience.
The next “Home Wuk” will start at 8 p.m. Saturday, on the Division of Festivals Facebook page.
The series, which was developed to help meet the need for people to focus on matters other than the global health crisis, premiered at a time when Virgin Islanders would have been gearing up for Carnival celebrations, which were scheduled for April 3 to May 4.
“We know everyone was looking forward to Carnival, but postponing it was the right thing to do to make sure we help stop the virus from spreading,” said Ian Turnbull, director of the Division of Festivals. “With the ‘Home Wuk’ series, we can lift people’s spirits and bring the V.I. Carnival vibe to everyone in the safety of their homes,” he added.
The first “Home Wuk” party was held on Saturday, March 28, and hosted on the Division’s Facebook page in collaboration with Insomniacs J’ouvert troupe. The event featured USVI’s DJ Avalanche, dubbed “The Caribbean’s Hottest DJ.”
For almost two and a half hours, DJ Avalanche served up energizing, feel-good music from the Virgin Islands and the region. The online event attracted more than 63,000 views and nearly 1,500 shares.
One viewer stated: “Nice concept, I love the virtual jam!” while another commented: “We jamming from far, social distance.”
During the live show, DJ Avalanche hammered out the importance of following the recommended public health guidelines during the novel coronavirus pandemic.
“You gotta be careful on the street. Make sure you have your mask, make sure you wash your hands, make sure you stay safe,” he said.
The Division of Festivals continues to develop initiatives to promote the territory’s culture and heritage, and will share its plans for rescheduling Carnival, St. John Festival and other cultural events once the crisis has subsided.