April 28, 2006 – If cuteness could be bottled, Friday's Children's Parade would have been the place to collect it.
From beginning to end, V.I. children showcased their talent, enthusiasm and sheer loveliness to a small but enthusiastic crowd who braved the relentless sun to take in what one passerby called "my favorite part of Carnival."
At least two new groups went down the road for the first time – the St. Thomas Majorettes and the Virgin Islands Paradise Dance Twirlers.
Maybe they tried a little harder and stepped a little higher because it was their first time, but the St. Thomas Majorettes received the full attention and appreciation of the spectators in Post Office Square as they performed in their tropical green-and-blue costumes.
The troupe was established to foster unity and self-confidence in girls ages 4 to 17. Five-year-old Christal Powell said she had been practicing for "a long time."
Delanni Matthew, an 11-year-old student at E. Benjamin Oliver Elementary, narrowed it down. "We've been practicing since January," she said.
And royalty was everywhere. The St. John and St. Croix princes and princesses rode by. The Junior Calypso Monarch and the King and Queen of Hearts, along with the Prince and Princess of Hearts, also made their way through Post Office Square. And royalty from the St. Croix and the British Virgin Islands drove by waving to the crowd.
Dubbed the Virgin Islands Royalty, four young ladies, each of whom received a scholarship after winning their royal positions competing in the categories of talent, modeling and interview, glided past the reviewing stands in gowns of yellow, orange, pink, and white and red.
Kimberly Rodriquez, the program manager for the pageant, said the girls – Desiree Wilkes, Zsabon Smith, Mykelle Christian and Gabriella Dubovoy – had gone on to compete in Austin, Texas, after winning their titles last July. Mykelle, the youngest, got a scholarship to her day care center, Rodriquez said.
Several tributes were offered throughout the day, including one by the Montessori School troupe to the City of New Orleans. Calling their routine "Mardi Gras V.I. Montessori Style," the group dressed in feathered headdresses and jesters costumes and spent some time in the square with their routines, which showcased each of a dozen jesters – jesting.
Others "instrument synched" cardboard saxophones, banjoes, trumpets and horns as Jam Band "jazz" rocked the square.
Definitely not "instrument synching" was the Superior Court Rising Stars Steel Orchestra, whose enthusiasm was palpable.
Dancing alongside the three-section trolley were parents and supporters of the pan players, wearing bright orange-and-yellow tropical flowered shirts and waving towels in the air that were occasionally used to mop the perspiration from their brows.
The extra jump up in the air was no doubt due to the orchestra's 25-year anniversary being celebrated this year. Among the other steel bands performing were the Joseph Sibilly Sunrays, the Bovoni Steel Pan Symphony Orchestra, the University of the Virgin Islands Family Life Center Pan Panthers, the Antilles School Hurricanes, the Bertha C. Boschulte Middle School Blazing Torch Bearers and the St. Thomas All-Stars Steel Orchestra.
Naturally, several groups offered tributes to Jam Band leader Nicolas "Nick" "Daddy" Friday, whose death last October at 43 shocked and saddened the community.
Saying, "This one's for you Daddy Friday," the Junior Sebastian Majorettes performed to two Jam Band tunes, Friday's, "Grammy" and this year's strong contender for Road March, "Super Heroes."
Another tribute was made by the UVI 4-H program to Ahiem Kareem Huyghue, who participated in the troupe for six years. Huyghue, 13, was shot and killed earlier this year.
A contender for the most "dressed down" troupe had to be the Juvenile Delinquency Prevention Program "Jammerz." Dressed in police-issue navy blue shorts and collared shirts, the members were no less enthusiastic as they danced through the square than their friends in frillier garb.
They probably weren't any hotter either.
Not one cloud managed to provide shelter from the sweltering heat as the 43 troupes, floupes, royalty and steel bands played their way down the road starting at about 10:30 a.m. and finishing just before 4 p.m.
Just a few steps behind the Traditional Indians, which always marks the end of parade, were Public Works Department workers cleaning up the trail of litter lining Main Street in preparation for Saturday's Adult Parade.
To access the Source Children's Parade photos go to Community/Other stuff.
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