Christiansted was the site of the biggest party on island Saturday when the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade converged on the historic St. Croix town bringing with it revelers of all kinds.
The parade kicked off in the vicinity of Times Square and headed down to the Christiansted waterfront. To say the mood was festive is an understatement.
As the yearly celebration of Irish culture has grown in popularity on St. Croix, local groups like Fusion Band provided music for the revelry, in addition to there being participation from steel pan orchestras, local DJs, and various local troops.
Vendors lined the parade route serving up delicious local eats, such as saltfish pate and drinks like tamarind.
And the dancing in the streets was at an all-time high.
At the parade’s close, the party continued on the Christiansted boardwalk with a selection of bands arranged on floating stages anchored at the dock offering up classic R&B tunes, soft rock, reggae, calypso, soca and more.
Then, there was the man visiting from St. John donning an electric-green tutu, a purple fanny pack, and dripping in party beads. There was the leprechaun hanging out with the man covered from head to toe in a green body suit. Plus, the camo-wearing, winged fairy and the man with a hat made from a watermelon with clover carvings all added to the fun. Indeed, there was no shortage of creativity to celebrate Irish patron saint, St. Patrick.
One man said it was the first time he had attended the event in 15 years.
“About fifteen years ago, I had a problem and I came out to see if it’s different now,” he said. “And it is different now. I have my better half with me and I’m meeting all my friends who I haven’t seen in so many years.”
The man, who, when asked for his name, told VI Consortium, “Chuck is my name and love is my game,” soon returned to the dancing he had been doing to the infectious sounds of the R&B Connection band playing nearby.
James from St. John said although he didn’t participate in the actual parade, he sailed over with a group of friends to enjoy the day’s festivities.
“We just hung out on the side looking all festive like we do,” he said.
Then, praising the efforts of the organizers of the parade, James added, “It’s a lot better than the one on St. John, that’s for sure.”
From one end of the boardwalk to the next, throngs of people came out to celebrate Irish culture, even a little pooch donning green paws and tail.
Not unlike other attendees, Marisol said she simply came to party; however, she also pointed out she was especially pleased to see the variety of people taking part in this year’s event.
“I love the fact that everyone is together and having fun,” she said. “I hope that everyone keeps it peaceful because this is the way it’s supposed to be here on the island.”
The St. Croix native said she’s been attending the parade “for as long as I can remember,” adding, “It used to be a lot smaller, but it’s gotten a lot bigger and now a lot of local troops are joining and that is awesome. I don’t see any reason why anyone should not enjoy the parade and the festivities. I think everyone should get together as one.”
When asked what she most enjoys about the annual celebration, Marisol said, “I like the fact that everybody is here to have a good time. Whether it’s to have fun, or to get together with friends, or to listen to music, the fact is we are all one people and we should do it that way all the time.”
Chris, who visits St. Croix frequently and who could be seen enjoying the music on the boardwalk, said it was the fourth parade he and his family has attended.
“It’s a lot of fun,” he said. However, Chris said he thought this year’s event was “a little slower and a little longer.”
While he said there was “not as many moko jumbies” at this year’s parade as there had been in past years, he only had good things to say about his experience, nonetheless.
“The flamboyant outfits at the end was very good,” he said, “and the little kids are beautiful.”