P.O. Box 1515 St. John US Virgin Islands 00831
info@stjohnfestival.org
(340) 690-3692 or (340) 690-1725

St. John Festival History

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The roots of all of this revelry date back originally to the early 20th century when the islands were still under the Danish flag and residents celebrated masquerade type events. While those masquerades waned, the tradition did not die. There are tales of troupes of masked dancers performing in Cruz Bay throughout the 1940s.

The first official St. John Festival dates to 1945 when residents gathered together in Cruz Bay, shared a bounty of food and paraded through the streets. Those early celebrations were only one day and no night time events were hosted.

The grand opening of Carnival Village is filled with anticipation and ceremony as the ribbon is cut by the honoree, the governor of the Virgin Islands and the Carnival Queen. Every year an honoree is selected, their name is used in the title of the village.

The Carnival celebrations on St. John have triple celebration power. It is Carnival and it takes place during two important holidays; Emancipation Day a local holiday commemorating the abolition of slavery and 4th of July/Independence Day the U.S. holiday commemorating independence.

Pageantry and Shows

The first St. John Queen, originally called Miss Independence, was crowned in 1960. Elsie Thomas-Trotman won the title for selling the most raffle tickets and was crowned in the most recently built Julius E. Sprauve School auditorium, having her first dance with St. John Administrator George Simmonds.

By 1964 the St. John Festival Queen began to take shape with contestants asked to compete in fashion, talent and presentational segments.

Food Fair

The first food booths were set up in 1968 when the Festival grew to two days, kicking off on the night of July 3 with celebrations continuing the following day. Queen and Prince and Princess Shows were added to the celebrations as a Food Fair Day.

In 1960 the 4th of July celebrations on St. John evolved into Carnival and the festival lasted more than a week. Today the event last several weeks and culminates on the 4th of July.
Food Fair

Food Fair

Food Fair is the event for those who love to eat, drink and be merry. Thousands of people gather for food fair, in Franklin A. Powell, Sr. Park, St. John. Carnival food fair is sure to have fried fish, lobster, jonny cakes, shrimp, beef and salt fish pates, kalaloo, tamarind stew, mango and a whole assortment of other Caribbean delicacies.
Village

Village

St John's Festival consists of celebrations which showcase the best of the Caribbean culture. While each year has a different theme and somewhat different schedule, Carnival's month long activities always culminate on the 4th of July with a parade and evening fireworks. The heart of Carnival is the Village.
Parade

Parade

Beautiful costumes, great music and the wonderful energy and spirit of Virgin Island's people make the adults parade a success every year. The parade on St. John involves children and adults. Each theme performed by established troupes, some of which have performed in the VI parades for years.
Queen Pageant

Queen Pageant

The grand opening of Carnival Village is the ribbon cut by the honoree, USVI governor and the Carnival Queen. The first St. John Queen, originally called Miss Independence, was crowned in 1960. By 1964 the St. John Festival Queen began to take shape with contestants asked to compete in fashion, talent and presentation segments.
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