Following the successful launch of the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism's Division of Festivals' online gatherings earlier this month, an expanded Virtual Carnival experience will now be available to a worldwide audience, D.O.T. said Saturday.
Ian Turnbull, Director of the Division of Festivals, announced that following the premiere of the 'Home Wuk' series, which featured top Virgin Islands disc jockey DJ Avalanche and garnered exceptional online engagement, the division will now offer additional "stay-at-home" opportunities to celebrate Carnival Virgin Islands.
Set to celebrate its 68th edition this year under the theme "All Eyes on We for 2020", Carnival Virgin Islands on St. Thomas was postponed as the territory and countries around the world embraced containment strategies to arrest the spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
The Virtual Carnival will feature replays of the 2017 and 2019 Children's and Adults' parades on WTJX, live-streamed village performances by Poizon, Fusion and Spectrum bands, Shaw HP and Mic Love, an online take on J'ouvert celebrations (dubbed "Jou'Virtual"), and performances by popular DJs and local and regional artists. The online audience will also be able to participate in a weekly Carnival Zumba with instructor Gaynel Harris during the month of April.
"We wanted to offer a sense of normalcy during an extraordinary time in history, so we are providing fun and entertainment while sharing the culture of the U.S. Virgin Islands," said Turnbull. "It's about providing stress relief in a new, virtual format," he added, encouraging the community to "play safe and stay safe."
Tanya-Marie Singh, CEO of WTJX - the Virgin Islands Public Broadcasting System - said she welcomed the opportunity to partner on this initiative with "our longtime partners, the Virgin Islands Department of Tourism, which has been a sponsor of WTJX's production of Virgin Islands Carnival for as long as I can remember."
Singh added that after a successful Crucian Christmas Festival, staged by the Division of Festivals, WTJX was eagerly anticipating coverage of the 2020 Carnival parades. "Since COVID-19 halted the in-person celebrations, we're happy to bring past Carnival parades, which adds to the virtual activities that the Division of Festivals has been offering online."
Turnbull stated that this is a unique opportunity that allows the community to enjoy Carnival while complying with the government's Stay-at-Home Order. "It also provides prospective visitors with a glimpse of the appreciation Virgin Islanders have for their history and culture."
The official calendar for the Virtual Carnival is available here: https://tinyurl.com/yajzcncv