Charleston Carifest is a Caribbean Carnival celebration in honour of Caribbean American Heritage Month. It is four days of food, fun, music, and costumes submerged in education and culture. This is the creative and artistic expression of Caribbean people. Join in and embrace Unity in Diversity.
The British and American Virgin Islands are the featured country for Charleston Carifest Caribbean Carnival 2019. On Thursday, June 20 the Symposium and Opening reception will be held at the College of Charleston School of Professional Studies, 3800 Paramont Drive, North Charleston, SC 29405, 6:00PM – 9:00PM.
Friday, June 21, will be the All White Fete. Venue TBA.
Saturday, June 22, Carnival Street Parade and Celebration in the Carnival Village.
Sunday, June 23. TBA.
Highly Anticipated Carnival Events
There is no denying that Virgin Islanders love Carnival! It is the most anticipated cultural event of the year! Carnival is a festival celebrating freedom through dancing, singing, parades, pageantry, music, drinks, food, friends and fun. It includes nightly displays of talented bands and individual musicians, pageants for Carnival royalty and fairs showcasing local crafts, food and drinks. Carnival however is much more than a large party. It is an exposition of culture and a treasured tradition that is passed down year after year.
It draws on African and European customs including music, dancing and masquerades. Carnival can be found throughout the Caribbean and is celebrated on various islands at different times of the year. In the United States Virgin Islands Carnival events take place on St. Thomas in April/May, St. Croix in December/January and St. John in June/July.
The tradition in St. Thomas began in 1912, however it would be 38 years before the festival would become an annual event. In 1952 Ron de Lugo revived Carnival in St. Thomas and we have been celebrating every year since. St. Thomas hosts the second largest Carnival cultural celebration in the Caribbean. It is a month long event that includes calypso shows, food fair, queen pageants, steel pan shows, parades and more. St. Thomas’ annual post-Easter Carnival is an incredible spectacle of spirit and tradition.
Carnival in St. John is a combination of celebrating the traditions of carnival with emancipation and independence. A month long event; festivities include musical venues, the village, food fair, parades and fireworks. St. John Carnival occurs in late June and traditionally culminates on July 4th with a 4th of July Carnival parade. Although St. John has a smaller population then it’s sister islands it certainly comes to life for Carnival. More specifically Cruz Bay comes to life as all the events are centered in the Cruz Bay area. Ferries making trips between St. Thomas and St. John are usually filled as revelers head over for special events like the opening of the village and the parade.
St. Croix hosts its Carnival Festival events during Christmas through New Year. Christiansted and Frederiksted share responsibilities of having events. Calypso shows, Latin music venues, food fairs, horse races, parades and more contribute to the spectacular month long event. The adult’s parade, often the last big event and coincides with Three Kings Day.
Activities, both private and public, come to a slow stop during the month long events anticipated for Carnival celebrations. Preparations start months before with costume making, rehearsals for the parade and competitions. In the first few days of Carnival there are pageants for king and queen of the band, Carnival queen and prince and princess. The tempo picks up with numerous musical events like calypso shows and steel pan venues. The action intensifies with the opening of the village, food fair and j’ouvert. Carnival raps up with parades and often a beautiful display of fireworks.
The British Virgin Islands, part of a volcanic archipelago in the Caribbean, is a British overseas territory. Comprising 4 main islands and many smaller ones, it’s known for its reef-lined beaches and as a yachting destination. The largest island, Tortola, is home to the capital, Road Town, and rainforest-filled Sage Mountain National Park. On Virgin Gorda island is the Baths, a labyrinth of beachside boulders.
The British Virgin Islands (BVI), officially simply the Virgin Islands, are a British Overseas Territory in the Caribbean, to the east of Puerto Rico. The islands are geographically part of the Virgin Islands archipelago and are located in the Leeward Islands of the Lesser Antilles.
The British Virgin Islands consist of the main islands of Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Anegada, and Jost Van Dyke, along with over 50 other smaller islands and cays. About 15 of the islands are inhabited. The capital, Road Town, is on Tortola, the largest island, which is about 20 km (12 mi) long and 5 km (3 mi) wide. The islands had a population of about 28,000 at the 2010 Census, of whom approximately 23,500 lived on Tortola. For the islands, the latest United Nations estimate (2016) is 30,661.
British Virgin Islanders are British Overseas Territories citizens and since 2002 are British citizens as well. Although the territory is not part of the European Union and not directly subject to EU law, British Virgin Islanders are deemed to be citizens of the EU by virtue of their British citizenship.
Charleston Carifest Caribbean Carnival
As part of our humanitarian efforts, we are working with the Shelton Project to collect stuffed animals, books, soccer balls-size 3 – 4, child size cleets, shin guards for the children of Port Antonio, Jamaica WI.