Roughly two dozen troupes turned up at the Road Reef Marina parking lot to participate in the August Monday Parade in Road Town.
The streets were also lined with patrons excited to see the colourful costumes and the procession of participants dancing through the town after the COVID-19 pandemic took away two years of August Monday celebrations.
The first group to hit the road were called the Marshall followed by the newly-crowned Prince and Princess of BVI, Kwame Prince and Angelique Lettsome. Other royalties were also in tow and patrons on the street saw Mr and Miss Junior BVI, the BVI Tourism Junior Ambassador, Mr and Miss HLSCC, Miss Universe BVI and Miss BVI.
The royal court was closely followed by Solo Twirler, Kazak, and an all-white troupe whose attire were in recognition of Margaret Rymer Borde’s 90th birthday.
Six cars followed and then participants from Necker and Moskito islands passed.
Legislator and businessman Mark Vanterpool led the OneMart truck which was followed by the Rotary Club of Tortola. Premier Dr Natalio Wheatley passed shortly after in the ‘Virgin Islands Community’ truck. The vehicle was powered by the Premier and the District Seven Community.
The Heritage Dancers passed shortly after with band members playing fungi music to remind people of authentic BVI sounds. They were followed by District Five led by District Representative Kye Rymer.
Dingolay, a name taken from Trinidad and Tobago, followed with dancers who were dressed in bright red and white. This was confirmed to depict fire and ice. The dancers, upon reaching the stoplight at the Sunny Caribee parking lot, performed a dance routine to Soca music.
Digicel passed shortly after and its representatives handed out bags and hats to patrons along the way. Vibe Routine truck came with the largest crowd, and the Mocko Jumbies accompanied them.
A joy to see the parade return
Meanwhile, Minster of Culture Sharie De Castro was excited for the August Monday Parade to return to the BVI.
“This was extremely important, truly. We understand what emancipation means to all of us. Especially in the Virgin Islands and celebrating today, it is just remarkable because it reminds us of what it means to unify and truly come together in the spirit of unity to celebrate … freedom. I am excited because it means a lot because we were inside for a while and now, we are outside truly enjoying life,” De Castro said.
The Culture Minister added that she was not surprised about the number of troupes that participated and the patrons who came to support.
“I was aware of the troupe count, of course, but given the time that they were given to prepare, I am really excited about the numbers, especially the patrons who came out to support, watch, dance, eat and enjoy the festivities,” De Castro said.
Unlike previous years, this year’s parade was not a competition and each troupe that entered the parade will receive a stipend as previously announced by the Virgin Islands Festivals and Fairs Committee.
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