Carrot Bay Festival - Tortola, BVI
The BVI August Festival was all but over ... except for the celebrations in Carrot Bay. By all reports, things would start percolating around noon. I was running late and expected I would have to park my car a mile away and hoof it to the Carrot Bay Festival Village.
To my amazement, I was able to drive right in! I was about to kick myself for missing the whole deal, when a friend called out, "Liane, what time are the donkey races?" I could only grin and thank the ever present, "island time" factor for working in my favour!
Carrot Bay has always held a special place in my heart. The people are just about the warmest and most genuine you'll find on Tortola. I was met with "Good afternoon" and "Enjoy Yourself", by almost everyone I passed on the road.
Several Booths offering food, drink, T-Shirts and various other goods are set up on the promintory in Carrot Bay, Tortola. A couple of floats which appeared in the British Virgin Islands Festival Parade reappeared as booths here, including the palm hut above.
Just as at the Kentucky Derby, many ladies and some of the gentleman, were bedecked in colourful hats ... and all were ready to have a good time! Events such as the lime and spoon race (a tidier version of egg and spoon), basket race, sack races, tug of war, swimming and shoe races ... were soon underway.
While racing officials were getting things organized for the shoe race, "The Champ" was busy warming up. This young man practiced his starting position, did 23 jumping jacks, stretched this way and that. He then eye balled his competitors ... confident of his certain victory. Man, this little guy was stoked!
The shoe race consists of a 100' sprint to where the participants' shoes have been placed several feet apart. The challenge is to locate both of your shoes, (which have been jumbled), put them on, tie them properly and return to the finish line.
The little girl dressed in blue was the ultimate winner, while "The Champ" was dead last. The poor little guy was shattered! After all that preparation, his folly was not determining exactly where his two shoes had been placed. He was too busy warming up!
While the crowd begins to gather to watch the donkey races, the donkeys and riders spend time greeting the crowd, taking time out to stop for little ones wanting to go for a ride!
The biggest drawing card for the Carrot Bay Festivities are the ever popular, donkey races! Nothing will entice a BVI crowd like a horse or donkey race! These Equids are fast baby! They have an odd little gate, but they really boogie when the mood strikes!
When the mood doesn't strike, they can be as stubborn as a mule! During one race, a donkey decided he'd had enough excercise for the day and began bucking like a bronco! The crowd parted as if Moses were parting the Red Sea ... but they did it much faster! To the amusement of the crowd, the donkey ended up as an unwelcome guest inside a nearby bar!
This was my favouite part of the BVI August Festival celebrations. Everyone had a ball and the donkey races are an absolute hoot! If chartering a yacht in the British Virgin Islands during Festival, Carrot Bay is a "must do"!
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Launched August 17, 2004 - Last Updated: January 27, 2014