Here Comes the Boss!! Caneel Bay Resort’s Nikolay Hotze, center, leads his “troupe” by example as he revs them up at the start of the much-anticipated annual performance by the award-winning staff entry.
Grand Marshal Alecia Wells regally greeted the crowds at the start of the more than five-hour event.
CRUZ BAY — Thousands of Virgin Islanders, along with visiting friends and relatives, filled the streets of Cruz Bay Saturday for the annual 4th of July Parade. Entries for the parade came from as far as Virgin Gorda, lending color, poise and spirit to the fete.
Celebrations for the last lap of St. John Festival 2015 began early in the morning with the traditional J’Ouvert dawn troupe through the streets of Cruz Bay.
A new social-media inspired group called J’Ouvertnation commandeered a double decker trolley for live deejay music and a lower level cocktail bar, fueling revelers’ J’Ouvert enthusiasm before setting up in front of the former First Bank in the center of Cruz Bay to entertain the gathering crowd.
Then, before Noon, it was time for the main event — the 4th of July Parade.
Grand Marshal Alecia Wells joked about her ride aboard a cream colored Nissan 350Z convertible. A definite upgrade from the jalopy she usually depends on to get around. Wells, the newly-installed president of the St. John Rotary Club, also worked on perfecting her version of the non-verbal greeting to the crowd known as the “royal wave.”
Gov. Mapp Makes Scene
Governor Kenneth Mapp also joined the fete, enjoying much of the spectacle from the comfort of the reviewing stand. Gov. Mapp came down to the parade route to greet St. John Queen Shanell Harney and Princess Shania Gris. He greeted the princess a second time as she came back down the parade route mounted on stilts as part of the new Love City Moko Jumbies troupe.
Perennial V.I. senior beauty queen Carol Tuhoy waved to the senior citizen’s reviewing stand and spectators along the route, displaying two crowns she recently won representing the Virgin Islands in U.S. stateside competitions.
Bevy of BVI Beauties
Miss Virgin Gorda, crowned during the Easter Monday festival there, arrived fashionably late, as did the contestants vying for the title of Miss British Virgin Islands. Their competition comes up in late July as part of the August Monday celebrations.
St. Thomas glamour troupes and traditionalists brought fun and frolic into the streets of Cruz Bay, including the Gypsies, the Indians, Tropical Masqueraders, Hugga Bunch, What a Party, the Zulus and the St. Thomas Majorettes.
They joined the host troupes of St. John — Caneel Bay Resort and the Westin Resort St. John, St. John Majorettes, Love City Pan Dragons and the lively new West Lindy troupe.
Spirits soared in the afternoon breeze as the tail of the parade wound around Franklin Powell Park and up the road to the finishing line at the Cruz Bay traffic circle. Two trucks circled back around to the village to entertain a while longer while costumed girls and guys danced in the road.
Ah We, Cool Sessions and Crossfyah laid down the sounds on the last night of Ms. B’s Cultural Melting Pot, the official name of the 2015 festival village.
The reported $50,000 Fourth of July Fireworks show pulled the crowds to the waterfront for a better view of the awe-inspiring pyrotechnics, only to return to the festival village for a few more hours of music and dancing until the fete was done.
Cars were parked three deep at the Cruz Bay overlook and Asolare restaurant on Route 10 the North Shore Road at the entrance to the Virgin Islands National Park for an eye-level view of the patriotic show — including an idling VIPD cruiser.