2020 Children's Parade By KGP VIRGIN ISLANDS
ST. CROIX — All over social media, Virgin Islanders are expressing their satisfaction with this year's festival season. "Besides the weather this STX Festival is about to be one the best we’ve ever had!" said Iaryn Williams, known as "Swanks", the leader of Big Band, formerly Stylee Band, and one of the best music producers in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
His sentiments were echoed by many Virgin Islanders who have been participating in this year's festivities, be it Festival Village events, J'ouvert, the parades which ended on Saturday with the Adults showcase, or events planned by private promoters such as this year's Xtaushun Band reunion.
Though the Children's Parade on Friday was affected by sporadic rainfall, the event was still supported by residents and visitors who braved the weather with appropriate attire and umbrellas.
The main event, which was Saturday's Adults' Parade, did not disappoint. Bands and deejays led a plethora of troupes down the parade route, which has traditionally started at the Claude O. Markoe Elementary School area and ends by the Paul E. Joseph Stadium. From Simply Sophisticated Fun Troupe, to new cultural entry from local photographer and videographer, Chalana Brown, called Sanctuary Troupe, to Regal Dynasty — which was extremely impressive this year — the parade was a sight to behold on a beautiful Saturday afternoon.
Governor Albert Bryan, a known carnival lover, was not shy about leaving the comfort of the government's parade stand for the streets to dance with revelers. He even did the Electric Slide with Regal Dynasty and Big Band as the group made their way through the main performance area.
The season culminates today with an event called "Jou'Day", a J'ouvert-style affair marking the last lap of the festival season on St. Croix, along with the end of the Festival Village tonight.
While this year's festival was lauded as one of the best, to be fair, the same was said last year, when the Crucian Christmas Festival was under the committee and not the government.
But the success of this year's festival season on St. Croix marks an important achievement for the organizers under the new Division of Festivals, which has proven that it, at the least, can run a successful season — with some hiccups, of course, as expected — but without any major failures that would put in question the division's viability.
Governor Albert Bryan, in a recent interview with the Consortium, said he was trying to get to an amicable place with the Carnival Committees that would see the committees continuing to play an integral role in the organization of the territory's festivities. The V.I. Carnival Committee had threatened to take legal action against the government if Mr. Bryan had failed to respond to a commitment to work with the committee, which has highlighted its trademark rights of carnival events in St. Thomas that it says bars the Division of Festivals from using the same titles.
"I think the best-case scenario is just like how we have the Agricultural Fair. We have a board, the government gets the majority position on the board, and the rest are randomly selected out by the people, and we come together and run the carnival. The same carnival committee but now we have the transparency and we have the accountability for the money and the funds that we put out," Mr. Bryan told the Consortium during the opening night of Festival Village on St. Croix.
Mr. Bryan said his administration has been reworking the V.I. Carnival Committee's bylaws to reach to an amicable solution that would see both sides working together. "A lot of people on my team weren't too happy about it, but I don't think it's really fair to say no, so we're doing a counter proposal, and we should have something for them," Mr. Bryan said.
What happens to the Division of Festivals if the proposal is accepted by the V.I. Carnival Committee, remains to be seen.