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St. Thomas on Countdown to Carnival 2023, Kicking Off April 8

The Gypsies Carnival Troupe perform at the 2019 St. Thomas Carnival. tribute this year to Ronnie Lockhart with a candy-themed entry. (Photo provided by V.I. Carnival Committee)
The Gypsies Carnival Troupe performs at the 2019 St. Thomas Carnival. This year festivities kick off on April 8 with Prince, Princess and Jr. Miss contest. (Submitted photo)

Starting April 8, St. Thomas Carnival will kick into high gear with the theme “Illuminating our Culture for the World to See, St. Thomas Carnival 2023,” reflecting the pride and joy the presenters have in their heritage and celebrations, the V.I. Tourism Department announced Wednesday.

“Carnival season on St. Thomas is such a wonderful time of year. It allows us to showcase our culture, including our music, delicious food, history, design, and creativity. It dovetails perfectly with our tourism marketing campaign, ‘naturally in rhythm’ that highlights our authentic Caribbean experiences and culture,” said Tourism Commissioner Joseph Boschulte in announcing the schedule for the festivities.

Carnival begins with the Prince, Princess and Jr. Miss contest on April 8, followed by the Carnival Queen showcase on April 15. Other highlights include J’ouvert on April 27 — the official and spiritual start of Carnival, with an early dawn party on the waterfront with trucks, water, and libations — followed by the annual Children’s and Adult Parades along Main Street in Charlotte Amalie on April 28 and 29, respectively. There are 40-plus entries this year, according to the Division of Festivals.

Food Fair, with local street food, arts and crafts and live music, will take place starting at 10 a.m. on April 26 in Emancipation Garden, followed by a Quelbe Tramp along Main Street at 6 p.m., according to the Division of Festivals.

Panorama, with six live steel pan groups, will perform April 30 at the Village, and the Village Nights will offer six nights of free local and international performances starting April 24, with 30-plus vendors selling food and drinks along with family friendly rides, games, and fun.

“We’ve put together a spectacular series of events to showcase the rich culture, tradition and spirit of Carnival,” said Ian Turnbull, director of the Division of Festivals. “We are grateful to our team of volunteers, sponsors, and the people of the Virgin Islands, and we look forward to an even greater Carnival this year,” he said.

The 2023 St. Thomas Carnival Schedule. (Image courtesy V.I. Tourism Department)
The 2023 St. Thomas Carnival Schedule. (Image courtesy V.I. Tourism Department)

Reigning over Carnival Village will be Kelly “Pupa Kelly” Charleswell, in his Musical Arena on April 24. He studied classical trombone at the University of the Virgin Islands, but guitar is his first love. He played with the Puerto Rico Symphony, Eartha Kitt (the original Cat Woman), Milo’s Kings, Eddie & the Movements, and other iconic bands. He’s best known for singing and playing guitar with the Awesome Jam Band and teaching music at Joseph Gomez Elementary School.

“Knights Delight” Food Fair will honor baker extraordinaire Goldine Burton-Knight. Together with her husband, she started Heritage Bakery & Deli, which has since become ERK Corporation. They have expanded and now supply markets throughout St. Thomas.

The Grand Marshals for the parades are Georgia Francis for the Children’s Parade, a veteran in the music education scene who influenced many students that have had an impact in the global music industry, and James Lewis for the Adult Parade, a longtime Carnival reveler, and local fan favorite in the territory.

A fireworks display will close out the festivities, according to the press release.

For the full schedule and to keep abreast of all the activities of the Division of Festivals, visit www.usvifestivals.vi and follow them on Facebook @usvifestivals.

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