One of many boats that participated in the 2023 Boat Parade on St. Croix. By. ERNICE GILBERT, V.I. CONSORTIUM
ST. CROIX — Who would have thought there'd be something new to say about the annual Boat Parade on St. Croix, which has been in existence for 29 years (first boat parade took place in 1994). Though it is one of the best-attended events and is also known for ushering in the Christmas season on the Big Island, the stories are now often summarized as cutlines — a remarkable picture with brief glowing comments about yet another boat parade.
But this year warrants more than a cutline. As in previous years, thousands attended the event. Vendors lined Queen Cross Street with the usual local offerings, and attendees were seen in their best dress attire.
However, this year's fireworks display was particularly noteworthy.
As darkness fell over the waterfront, the sky above Hotel on the Cay transformed into a canvas of vibrant colors and dazzling lights.
The show began with a symphony of red, blue and gold, cascading down like a celestial waterfall, setting the tone for the evening's spectacle. This was followed by an array of multi-colored starbursts, radiating across the sky in hues of deep reds, brilliant blues, and vivid greens, each burst outshining the last in size and vibrancy, interspersed with smaller, yet equally captivating displays.
Midway through the 17-minute display, the presentation kept pace and grew even more bombastic. The climax of the show was a breathtaking finale where rapid-fire bursts of light filled the sky, creating a succession of overlapping circles and patterns in a dazzling array of colors.
Residents at home and the diaspora on the U.S. mainland and elsewhere were wowed by the show. "This is the best I've seen on St. Croix," one resident on the Christiansted Boardwalk told this reporter. Online, the sentiments were the same. "These are the best fireworks I have ever seen in St. Croix in my life. Wow!!" said Denise Chastanet.
This year's fireworks at the St. Croix Boat Parade were not just a display of light and sound; they were a celebration of the island's spirit, a spectacular end to an evening filled with joy and community camaraderie, setting the tone for a wondrous holiday season.
Christmas is by far the most eventful season on St. Croix, with so many events that persons must decide which to attend. It all comes to a head with the Crucian Christmas Festival, which commences in earnest on Dec. 26 at the Festival Village in Frederiksted, and ends on Jan. 7 with the Adults Parade and Afro-Soca Night, featuring Afrobeats star Davido.