After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the U.S. Virgin Islands announced the 70th edition of “Carnival Virgin Islands” on St. Thomas will be held from April 27 to May 1, 2022.
This year’s theme is “A New Cultural Roogadoo for Carnival 2022.” Although the event has been scaled down due to COVID-19, it will showcase the island’s culture, cuisine, history, music, and people.
Ian Turnbull, director of the Division of Festivals, announced, “We are finalizing plans to promote and advance the Territory’s culture through the return of carnival and festivals in 2022.”
St. Thomas Carnival 2022 will include four village nights — “Deh Village De Lugo”— honoring the late Ron de Lugo, the first and longest-serving Delegate from the U.S. Virgin Islands to the United States House of Representatives.
Prior to his long career in politics, Representative de Lugo had gained territory-wide fame for helping to found WSTA Radio and for creating and developing his on-air radio persona, the wisecracking comedian “Mango Jones.”
In 1952, de Lugo was credited for using the popularity of his radio show to revive St. Thomas Carnival, making it an annual event.
De Lugo, the longest-serving V.I. delegate to congress, was only 26 years old in November 1956, when he won his first election to the U.S. Virgin Islands Legislature.
For the next 38 years, until his retirement in 1994, de Lugo played a pivotal role in the social, economic and political development of the Virgin Islands community.
As St. Thomas Carnival 2022 honors de Lugo, it will offer fun events such as a Food Fair, boat races, a Calypso showcase, stage a specially-tailored J’ouvert (sunrise) celebration, and re-crown of the territory’s first carnival queen, Carmen Sibilly.
Children’s Village will be in operation during the festivities and a virtual costume competition for children will be staged in conjunction with the Department of Education.
During all activities, COVID-19 protocols will be adhered to and followed according to the V.I. Health Department’s current rules and regulations. Additionally, the V.I. Carnival Committee reserves the right to impose additional safety restrictions.
Commissioner of Tourism, Joseph Boschulte, commented that highlighting cultural traditions, heritage and festivals is part and parcel of a major push to attract visitors to the territory. “And as we emerge from the challenges presented by the pandemic, it is inspiring to witness the passion of our community as we restart and re-energize the spirit of Carnival in the Virgin Islands,” he said.
Below is the currently published
2022 Carnival events schedule and
may be subject to change:
April 27th – Food Fair in Crown Bay; Carnival Village Opens in the Fort Christian Parking Lot
April 28th – J’ouvert Celebration in the Village from 4a.m. – 9a.m; Reggae Night at Fort Christian
April 29th – Big Band Night at Fort Christian
April 30th – Masquerade Night at Fort Christian
May 1st – Boat Show On The Waterfront; Pan-O-Rama
A BIT ABOUT THE FIRST CARNIVAL
In 1911, Adolph “Ding” Sixto traveled to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to attended that city’s renowned Carnival celebrations. Inspired by the experience, he brought the concept home to St. Thomas and on February 14, 1912, the first St. Thomas Carnival was held from 4 p.m. to 4 a.m. It included confetti battles, greased pig-catching competitions and boat races as well as a torchlight masquerade. Brightly attired clowns served as a form of crowd control, cracking their whips to keep spirited revelers from disrupting the parade. Deemed a grand success, Carnival was held again in 1914 but with the advent of World War I, festivities came to a close until officially established in 1952 as an annual event.