Aug. 30, 2001 – This Labor Day weekend, on St. Thomas, it's carnival, baby.
On Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, the V.I. Carnival Committee is presenting the official start of what will be an ongoing series of events on St. Thomas to celebrate the 50th anniversary of modern-day V.I. Carnival that will culminate in the 2002 festivities next April.
One of the attractions is something that the world's most famous carnival, in Rio de Janeiro, has traditionally featured and V.I. Carnival has not: a parade at night, instead of in the heat of the day.
The motto for the whole year's observance is "A Cultural Roogoodoo for Carnival 2002." (For those not familiar with the term, Roogoodoo, from the French Rougadou, is a West Indian word for "a noisy disturbance," in this case in the celebratory sense.)
On Friday, the long weekend kicks off with a "Golden Jubilee" reception and dinner-dance at 7 p.m. at Palms Court Harborview Hotel. The theme is "A Tribute to Carnival Pioneers," and such early movers and shakers as Leo and Carmen Sibilly, the first King and Queen of Carnival, and the Gypsies Troupe, the Traditional Indians and all former Carnival Committee chairs will be honored. Dancing will be to the sounds of St. Thomas music pioneers — Milo's Kings.
Tickets are $25. They're being sold at Family Health Center, International Records and Tapes, Krystal & Gifts Galore, Modern Music-Havensight, Nisky Pharmacy, Parrott Fish Music and T&P Cash and Carry on St. Thomas; and at the St. John Drug Center on St. John.
Saturday's event is a Calypso Revue Spectacular featuring what the Carnival Committee describes as "the best of the best." It will take place in Lionel Roberts Stadium starting at 8 p.m. and going until you know when — "until."
Headliners are off-island super-calypsonians Sparrow, Calypso Rose, Lord Nelson, Short Shirt, The Mighty Chalkdust, Swallow and Bomber, and two longest-reigning V.I. Carnival calypso monarchs in history — Whadablee, who has held the crown for the last three years, and Louis Ible Jr., who held it for the preceeding three before retiring.
Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the gate. They're available at the same outlets as the dinner-dance tickets.
Sunday's activities start with a parade from Rothschild Francis "Market" Square to the Fort Christian parking lot, to be followed by a jam in the parking lot. The parade, featuring a full complement of troupes, floupes, pageant royalty and majorettes, is to get under way at 7 p.m., and there are plans to string lights across Main Street along the route. At the parking lot, St. John's Cool Session will provide music, and food and drink will be on sale. The party's to go on until 2 a.m.
Closing out the mini-fest on Monday will be a jam and fun day on the beach at John Brewer's Bay and across the road on the grounds of the Reichhold Center for the Arts. Things are to get going at 10 a.m. and continue until 6 p.m. There will be old-time games, beach volleyball, sack races, face painting, watersports and more, plus live music and food and drinks available for purchase.
Traffic might be tight
The Police Department has a traffic-flow plan in place for the weekend:
Saturday — For the calypso show at Lionel Roberts, traffic will be restricted to a loop pattern. Vehicles westbound from Pollyberg Hill will have to turn left at the traffic light then turn right onto Education Street (lower Kongens Gade), then right onto Hospital Gade. Traffic northbound on Beltjen Road will have to turn left at Norre Gade by Wet Willy's and then right onto Hospital Gade.
Sunday — To keep the Fort Christian parking lot clear for set-up and Main Street clear for the parade, parking will not be prohibited in the lot from 12:01 a.m. Sunday through 6 p.m. Monday and along the parade route from 6 p.m. Sunday until the parade is over.
Vehicles left along the parade route will be towed and it will cost the owners $95 to get them back, according to the Police Department release. Anyone whose vehicle is towed should report to the Zone A Command at the Criminal Justice Complex to see about getting it back.
Monday — For the beach party, no through traffic will be allowed past Brewer's Bay and the Reichhold Center grounds from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. Motorists coming from or heading to Bordeaux and Fortuna should use the Estate Pearl and Crown Mountain roads.
The Carnival Committee has allocated vendor spaces for four non-profit organizations at the stadium, for 15 non-profit groups at the fort parking lot, and for 20 groups at the beach and on the Reichhold grounds.
For more information, call the committee office at 776-3112.


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