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British Virgin Islands
Emancipation Festival Parade

spacer BVI Emancipation Parade

Perhaps its the costumes or maybe there's something in the air ... but I just love a Parade!

This event is often off to a slow start. The festival committee generally announces the starting time as sometime around 11:00 a.m. but it seldom begins before 1:00 pm and sometimes even later.

It doesn't really matter when the parade begins ... half the fun is just being in Road Town on Festival Parade day, enjoying the food and drink, people watching and generally lapping up the flavour and culture of the British Virgin Islands.

The festival parade is a family affair. People of all ages and all walks of life turn out to celebrate. Costumes (some of which are really quite intricate) are painstakingly designed and hand made by hundreds of people from all over the Caribbean. Others (such as the one worn by the gentleman below, left) are intended to be whimsical. This fellow got a lot of laughs as he jubilantly danced for appreciative revelers!

BVI Parade Joker   BVI Parade Costume
BVI Parade Indian Costume spacer BVI Parade Skydancer

The Skydancers troupe (otherwise know as stilt walkers and mocko jumbies) are famous throughout the British Virgin Islands and are always great fun to watch. The youngest member of the troupe was 6 year old Saheem (below left). I was amazed at this little boy's attention span as he took his cues from their troupe leader!

BVI Parade Little Mocko Jumbie spacer BVI Parade Children Troup

Children under the age of 10 or 12 often outnumber the adults in the emancipation parade. Some as young as three or four years of age toddle down the long parade route, supported by smiling parents trotting along the parade route with juice or water in hand for their little ones. They are so much fun to watch and many take their roles very seriously!

BVI Parade Pompom Girls spacer BVI Parage Moorings Float
BVI Parade Little Boy spacer BVI Parade Lady Indian

One of the big events which coincides with Festival is the Miss BVI Pageant! The winner of the pageant is announced shortly before Festival and the winner and her runners up join in the celebration on another lovely float!

BVI Parade - Miss BVI 2006
Miss British Virgin Islands Float

All too often, things change, but the one thing I have come to rely on and look forward to is seeing this lady and her donkey at the BVI Emancipation Festival Parade. Every year, I find myself looking forward to seeing what they will be decked out in! I just love the lipstick on the donkey ... too funny!

BVI Parade Lady with Donkey
This lady and her donkey sport different costumes each year!

August Festival | Carrot Bay Festival Pictures
BVI Photo Gallery | About the British Virgin Islands

For information about sailing the BVI,
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Phone: (284) 495-4168 Tortola, British Virgin Islands
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Text & Photos Copyright © Bareboats BVI. All rights reserved.
Launched: August 8, 2006 - Last Updated: January 27, 2014