Are you ready for a party in paradise? Look no further than St. John USVI’s annual Carnival celebration, also known as the St. John Festival. This vibrant event takes place every year in late June and early July and offers a week-long extravaganza of music, dancing, food, and fun. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, the St. John Festival is an experience you won’t want to miss. Here are the top reasons why you should add it to your summer travel bucket list.

St. John Festival
St. John Festival

1) The History of St. John USVI Carnival

St. John Carnival has a rich and colorful history that dates back to the early 20th century. It all started with the arrival of African slaves in the Caribbean, who brought with them a strong tradition of music, dance, and colorful costumes. Over time, this tradition evolved into what is now known as St. John USVI Carnival, a lively celebration that attracts thousands of visitors every year.

The first St. John Carnival was held in 1912, and since then, it has become an annual event that celebrates the island’s culture and history. The Carnival is a time of great joy and celebration, as locals and visitors come together to dance, sing, and enjoy the festive atmosphere.

Windspree Vacation Homes is proud to be a part of this wonderful tradition. As a provider of vacation rentals in St. John, we have been helping visitors enjoy the Carnival for many years. Our properties are located in the heart of the island, close to all the festivities, and offer the perfect base for exploring all that St. John has to offer.

So if you’re planning to attend St. John USVI Carnival, be sure to book your stay with Windspree Vacation Homes. We’ll help you make the most of this amazing event and create memories that will last a lifetime.

2) The Dates and Locations of St. John USVI Carnival

If you’re planning a trip to the U.S. Virgin Islands, you won’t want to miss the St. John Carnival. This vibrant celebration is one of the biggest events on the island, and it’s a great way to experience the culture and spirit of the locals.

The St. John Carnival is typically held from late June to early July, with events happening over several days. The carnival takes place in the town of Cruz Bay, which is located on the western coast of St. John. If you’re planning on attending the festivities, you may want to consider staying in a vacation rental from Windspree Vacation Homes. This way, you can be close to all the action while still having your own private space to relax in.

During the St. John Carnival, you’ll find plenty of events happening throughout the town. There are parades, live music performances, street vendors, and more. Whether you’re interested in food, music, or cultural experiences, you’re sure to find something to enjoy during the St. John Carnival.

So mark your calendars and start planning your trip to St. John USVI Carnival. With so much to see and do, it’s sure to be a trip you’ll never forget.

3) The Theme and Decorations of St. John USVI Carnival

One of the most exciting aspects of St. John USVI Carnival is the vibrant and colorful theme that is displayed throughout the entire event. Each year, the carnival committee chooses a unique theme that sets the tone for the entire festival.

The theme is incorporated into every aspect of the carnival, from the decorations and costumes to the music and food. Some past themes have included “African Rhythms,” “Jungle Jam,” and “Voyage to the Stars.”

The decorations at St. John USVI Carnival are truly a sight to behold. From elaborate floats and costumes to stunning lighting displays, every corner of the carnival grounds is adorned with bright colors and intricate details.

The decorations are designed to transport visitors into a world of excitement and celebration, with everything from elaborate backdrops to smaller touches like flags and streamers that create a festive atmosphere.

In addition to the decorations, the carnival also features stunning performances by talented dancers, singers, and musicians who bring the theme to life through their art. Each performance is carefully crafted to tell a story and convey the spirit of the carnival theme.

Whether you are a seasoned carnival-goer or attending for the first time, the theme and decorations at St. John USVI Carnival are sure to leave you in awe and inspire you to join in the festivities. So, be sure to mark your calendar and experience this unique cultural celebration for yourself!

4) The Music and Dance of St. John USVI Carnival

If there is one thing that you can expect from St. John USVI Carnival, it is the incredible music and dance performances. The Carnival is all about celebration and fun, and nothing embodies that more than the vibrant beats and rhythms that fill the air during this event.

Throughout the Carnival, you can expect to hear a mix of traditional calypso, soca, reggae, and Latin music. You will hear steel drums, horns, guitars, and drums, creating a unique blend of sounds that will have you dancing from the start to the end of the event.

The dance performances at the St. John USVI Carnival are equally as captivating as the music. Expect to see people dancing in the streets, on floats, and on stage throughout the event. You can watch or participate in the various dance competitions that take place, or simply soak up the infectious energy of the Carnival and let your body move to the beat.

Don’t be surprised if you find yourself drawn into one of the many impromptu dance parties that pop up throughout the Carnival. From salsa to reggae, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

Whether you’re a seasoned dancer or just love to let loose and have a good time, the music and dance of St. John USVI Carnival will have you moving and grooving in no time. It’s the perfect way to experience the rich cultural heritage of the Virgin Islands while also having an unforgettable time with friends and family.

5) The Food and Drinks of St. John USVI Carnival

If you’re a foodie, St. John USVI Carnival will definitely not disappoint you! The Carnival season is the perfect time to indulge in some of the most delicious local Caribbean dishes and exotic cocktails that are unique to the island. 

During the carnival season, you will find various food vendors, restaurants, and food trucks set up at different locations serving authentic Caribbean cuisine. You can try dishes like curry goat, jerk chicken, seafood platters, and even vegetarian and vegan options available. Some vendors also sell festival foods such as funnily shaped donuts or “festival”, fried or grilled corn, and Johnny cakes.

No Carnival experience is complete without sampling some of the unique and refreshing island drinks. You can find vendors selling classic Caribbean cocktails such as rum punch, piña coladas, and mojitos. For non-alcoholic drinks, try coconut water straight from the coconut or freshly squeezed passionfruit juice. And for those with a sweet tooth, there’s always a chance to sample some traditional Carnival sweets such as sugar cakes or even boozy “dumb bread.”

Make sure to come with an empty stomach and try as many different dishes and drinks as possible during St. John USVI Carnival. It’s an experience that your taste buds won’t forget anytime soon.

6) The Costumes and Masquerades of St. John USVI Carnival

One of the most exciting and visually stunning aspects of St. John USVI Carnival is the amazing array of costumes and masquerades. This aspect of the carnival tradition dates back to the earliest celebrations when participants would wear masks and costumes as a way to ward off evil spirits and attract good luck. 

Today, the costumes and masquerades at St. John USVI Carnival are still a central part of the festivities, and they’re absolutely breathtaking to behold. The sheer variety and creativity of the costumes are astounding, with everything from traditional Caribbean garb to wild and outlandish outfits that incorporate feathers, beads, and bright, vibrant colors.

In addition to the incredible visual impact of the costumes and masquerades, there’s also a deeper cultural significance to these traditions. For many participants, wearing a costume or mask is a way of expressing their identity and connection to their cultural heritage. It’s a chance to celebrate and showcase their history, beliefs, and traditions in a vibrant and dynamic way.

There are also a number of competitions and contests held during St. John USVI Carnival that focus specifically on costumes and masquerades. These contests offer participants the chance to show off their most impressive and innovative designs, and they’re always a highlight of the carnival celebrations.

Whether you’re a participant or simply a spectator, the costumes and masquerades at St. John USVI Carnival are not to be missed. From the dazzling displays of color and creativity to the deep cultural significance of these traditions, they’re an integral part of this amazing celebration of Caribbean culture and community.

7) The Parade and Floats of St. John USVI Carnival

One of the highlights of the St. John USVI Carnival is the vibrant parade, featuring colorful floats and energetic dancers. The parade takes place on the last day of the festival, with participants proudly showcasing their elaborate costumes and creative floats.

The floats are adorned with feathers, beads, and sequins, all in a riot of colors that reflects the carnival’s festive atmosphere. Each float represents a unique theme, often incorporating elements of Caribbean culture and history. Some floats feature traditional masquerade characters, such as the Moko Jumbie stilt walkers and the Mocko Jumbie dancers.

As the floats make their way through the streets, participants dance and perform to the lively rhythms of the music, with traditional steelpan bands, soca music, and calypso songs all making an appearance.

The parade culminates with the crowning of the carnival king and queen, who are selected based on their costume design, performance, and overall stage presence. The winners are then given the honor of leading the parade, surrounded by a group of dancers and revelers.

Overall, the parade and floats of St. John USVI Carnival are a spectacle not to be missed. The combination of vibrant costumes, lively music, and enthusiastic performers creates a truly unforgettable experience that celebrates the spirit of Caribbean culture and tradition.

8) The Competitions and Contests of the St. John USVI Carnival

Apart from the lively music, dance, and colorful costumes, St. John USVI Carnival also features several competitions and contests that add more fun and excitement to the event. 

One of the most anticipated contests during the carnival is the Calypso Competition. This is a musical contest that features local artists performing original songs that often reflect the issues, culture, and history of the US Virgin Islands. Participants are judged on their lyrical content, delivery, stage presence, and overall performance.

Another popular contest is the Mocko Jumbie Competition. This contest features performers dressed in colorful, towering stilts and performing elaborate dances to upbeat rhythms. The judges usually look out for creativity, technique, and crowd response in selecting the winners.

The Food Fair Competition is another exciting part of the carnival where participants showcase their culinary skills by creating unique and delicious dishes. The competition is open to both amateurs and professionals, and judges rate the dishes based on presentation, taste, and creativity.

If you’re interested in showcasing your talents, the Carnival Village has a talent show where you can sing, dance, perform poetry, or display any other talent you have. The winners get to take home some cool prizes and get recognition from the local community.

Other contests and competitions during the carnival include the Soca Monarch, which is a musical contest similar to the Calypso competition, and the Jouvert troupe competition, which features groups of revelers dressed in creative costumes and dancing through the streets in the early hours of the morning.

Overall, the competitions and contests at St. John USVI Carnival offer a chance to showcase local talent, creativity, and culture. Participating or watching these contests is a great way to experience the true spirit of the carnival and immerse yourself in the lively and colorful culture of the US Virgin Islands.

9) The Art and Culture of St. John USVI Carnival

In addition to the lively music, vibrant costumes, and delicious food, St. John USVI Carnival is also a celebration of the island’s rich cultural heritage and artistic traditions.

Local artisans showcase their handmade crafts, such as pottery, jewelry, and textiles, at the various street fairs and marketplaces that take place during Carnival. Visitors can purchase one-of-a-kind souvenirs to take home with them and also support the island’s economy and local artists.

Additionally, the Carnival parade features colorful floats adorned with intricate designs and decorations that showcase the creativity and artistry of the island’s residents. These floats are often inspired by local legends and historical events, making them a unique reflection of St. John’s culture and traditions.

Furthermore, St. John USVI Carnival is an opportunity for visitors to learn about the island’s history and cultural influences. The event features exhibitions and displays of African, Native American, and European artifacts and traditions, showcasing the diverse mix of cultures that have shaped St. John’s identity over the centuries.

Attending St. John USVI Carnival is a chance to immerse oneself in the art and culture of the island, and to celebrate the beauty and diversity of this vibrant Caribbean community. Whether you’re interested in shopping for locally-made crafts, marveling at the intricate designs of the Carnival floats, or learning about the island’s history and traditions, there is something for everyone at this lively and exciting event.


If you’re interested in booking St. John Virgin Islands rentals, the best resource is Windspree Vacation Homes, renting Virgin Islands vacation rentals for over 30 years. Book your St. John vacation rental from people who live there and know the island best! For more information on Virgin Islands rentals and St. John USVI rentals, check out Windspree.com and call 340-227-3250 and speak to someone about booking your stay.  


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