St. John Carnival

As St. Johnians, we ask a lot of our livers. It seems you’re never too sad to celebrate happy hour. There’s no shortage of friends who’d love to start their morning with a mimosa, and, of course, there are our visitors whose arrivals clearly call for a toast that usually lasts all week.

And that’s just during all the “normal” parts of the year! Come late June, the annual St. John Carnival festivities kick off, and it’s pretty much GAME ON! Night after night, locals and tourists alike gather in the village to listen to live music, eat the Carnival cuisine, and drink libations such as the infamous Electric Lemonade served at the Shuga Shack.

St. John Carnival

It’s a week long gamble that your liver will step up to the plate, kick it up a notch and filter out those unneeded toxins. You’ll just expect your liver to simply work it out with all your other organs and keep you in tiptop shape, ready for the next day’s party. It’s kind of a lot to ask.

The redeeming part of overworking your body is that carnival is, well, just so awesome! For over a week, the party continues until the major crescendo- the parade- finally happens on Saturday. The parade is long, and of course we’re in the tropics, so it isn’t exactly cool outside. But that doesn’t seem to matter to anybody.

Also, it helps that, unlike non-island environments and basically every event I ever attended on the mainland, you don’t have to try to sneak in your beverages and/ or purchase expensive drinks from the event host.

Nope, not at carnival and not ever on St. John! Roadies are a way of life, and coolers filled with your beverage of choice are welcomed and encouraged. And if you don’t want to lug your cooler around, no worries… Alcohol is the cheapest thing that you can buy on the island anyway, so drink up!

I found myself in a state of overstimulation during the parade. The costumes were amazing and the music was so lively. I am determined to be a part of one of the dance troops at some point!

St. John Carnival

St. John Carnival

St. John Carnival

St. John Carnival

I am someone who (regrettably) spends lot of time worrying about over-tasking my liver and other major organs in my body, for that matter. Being concerned about such frivolous things is not ideal if you want to live a carefree life on a island.

St. John Carnival

But you know, when I look back on it, I really didn’t drink that much at Carnival. Sure, I had an Electric Lemonade (or two); yes I had a funnel cake; yes I had Johnny cakes and (randomly) some really yummy lasagna.

St. John Carnival

But, I happily realized that every time I was around any of the Carnival festivities, I sweated it out at the never-ending dance party. As usual, dancing is my saving grace. You’ll have to come dance with us at a Carnival sometime. Book your reservations for next year now!

St. John Carnival

St. John Carnival

Next year I’m even tempted to try to make it out for J’ouvert (pronounced Ju-vay, not Joe-vert, as my husband called it), but we shall see about that. It starts around 4am, which is post-Friday night party and pre-parade. As much as I love my sleep, it’s doubtful. Who knows though, by Carnival 2016, I’ll be an old pro!

Ashley Cates, St. John USVI Blogger

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