Tuesday, August 2, 2011


It is Festival time in the British Virgin Islands. Festival is an annual event that lasts two weeks, and celebrates the reading of the Emancipation Act at the old well on Joe's Hill in 1834.

Vendors set up stands along the parade route
Emancipation is celebrated on the first Monday in August, and the festivities begin two Thursdays prior to that, with the opening of the festival grounds and concerts nightly. The Festival Village has an amusement park for children, along with vendor stands.

Even dogs get adorned for the occasion

The big celebration really gets going the Friday before Festival Monday. Concerts go all night, and end only with the 4am Rise and Shine Steel Drum Tramp. Sunday is a bit more solemn: there's a re-enactment of the reading of the Emancipation Act, and it stays pretty quiet through the evening.

Costumes are a big deal for the dance troops

Festival Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday are all official holidays, meaning government and many businesses are closed. The culmination of Festival is on Festival Monday, when the parade happens.

Since I was working yesterday, HB went to the parade by himself, and was good enough to take pictures for me to share with you.

Two, double-decker trailers filled with steel drums and trash barrels -- the loudest thing at the parade
After Monday, the celebrations move from downtown Road Town to East End and Carrot Bay. The denouement is a three-day "Family Fiesta" in Carrot Bay, with more music, and lots of family and kid-friendly activities, like donkey races and fishing contests. Family Fiesta ends on Friday, finishing the two weeks of celebration. 

As thorough a kludge as I've ever seen

My favorite of HB's pictures. The woman is wearing a costume representing Virgin Gorda (the Baths). The donkey carries a tourist bus.


  1. Wow! Kudos to HB. Great pictures and looks like a lot of fun. Sorry you had to miss!

  2. Looks like a great festival. Love all the colors.


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