Jan, 5, 2005 – The wait for jouvert began well before breakfast and didn't wrap up until almost lunchtime. The bands did not start moving down the road until almost 8:30 a.m. and then, ever so slowly, made their way down King Street to Fergusville.
But this was j'ouvert, one of the biggest events of any Festival season and the thousands of people who lined the streets and waited behind the bands were determined to make the day a memorable one.
People took advantage of the late start to catch up with old friends and show off their j'ouvert outfits. The breakfast drink of choice seemed to be bush tea, water or a cold brow soda, although a few hearty souls seemed to prefer a little "hair of the dog" to give them that extra edge.
Thursday morning seemed to be "wear wa you wan" day. Because j'ouvert is as much about the fashions as it is about the bands, the music and the dancing, the j'ouvert fashion show was designed to capture attention. And many individuals showed there were several ways to stand out in a distinctive outfit.
For instance, take an old or even new pair of shorts and put as many holes in them as possible short of getting arrested for indecent exposure. Or how about donning a pair of Sponge Bob boy shorts paired with a muscle tee?
Anything way out or original was the way to go for j'ouvert jammin'. A group of guys were seen wearing white hazmat suits one had accessorized his outfit with a strawberry blonde wig.
Another unusual outfit spotted on the street was a crocheted camouflage hot pants and halter set paired with crocheted fish net stockings that could easily have doubled as a net for wild game if the need arose.
Thousands of onlookers lined the route, content to be spectators, rather than participants. But every once in a while festival fever would grab one and propel him or her to the middle of the street. Once there, the erstwhile onlooker would perform their signature j'ouvert jump up style for a few minutes before blending back into the crowd.
And then the bands came into view.
Performing on the road for thousands of fans were Digital, Phranchize, X-press, Stroka and Extaushaun bands. Teenagers, who on any other holiday morning would be still be snuggled under bed covers, made up most of the early morning crowd.
Young people were packed behind the bands like sardines in a tin. They seemed to like it better like that. Others, not so fervent about close contact "jammin" partied on the outskirts of the fray, preferring to have a bit of room to shake and wind.
Seen tramping behind a band was Michael B. Jordan who plays Reggie Montgomery on the popular soap All My Children.
Young', old, short or tall, everyone was having a good time in the early morning j'ouvert. One dancer, dressed in denim short- shorts and a red halter top was so angular – the bones in her small frame seemed to jut out in every direction – it was almost impossible to believe her body could perform such rapid circular movements.
Behind the bands the crowds became so thick that spectators and participants became one. And, as in years past, the crowd responded to the call of the musical vocalist. Thousands of people waved their towels to the left and to the right in unison, then made the towel do the "helicopter". Behind one band the revelers were asked to "do the cha cha" and if you did not know how to "cha cha," they were told "look around, some one is doing it." Group cooperation is highly rated during j'ouvert.
After several blocks of non-stop dancing, weary revelers were released at the entrance to Fergusville village, and soon were seen, tired, but satisfied making their way back to their homes. The VIPD was out in full force all during the event. Territorial Chief of Police Novelle Francis Jr., declared the activity a success, saying "It was a good day with no incidences."
This weekend is the culmination of the St. Croix Crucian Festival activities, with the children's parade on Friday, beginning at 10 a.m., Latin Night in Fergusville and the adult parade on Saturday.
Check the Source frequently for all your 2005-2006 St. Croix Festival highlights.
See the complete schedule HREF="http://www.onepaper.com/stcroixvi/?v=d&s=Community:Other+stuff&p=11056
88164">here. And go to Community/other stuff to catch the Festival in photos.
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