Virgin Islands Carnival 101

Step into a world of vibrant colors, pulsating rhythms, and infectious energy.

From the bustling streets of St. Thomas to the picturesque shores of St. John, the annual Carnival celebrations are more than just festivals – they are vibrant showcases of Caribbean culture, heritage, and community spirit. Get ready to immerse yourself in the excitement and embrace the spirit of Caribbean joy as we explore the magic of these unforgettable celebrations. Keep reading to discover the top events to attend, how you should dress and some important things to know before attending Carnival 2024.

St. Thomas Carnival

A vibrant celebration of culture, music, and tradition.

The St. Thomas Carnival is a celebration held annually in Charlotte Amalie, U.S. Virgin Islands. This year, the festivities will take place throughout the month of April and into May with the main events occurring from April 28th through May 5th, 2024. Bursting with energy and color, this carnival extravaganza features a dazzling array of events, including parades, concerts, competitions, and vibrant street dances. 

The festivities, deeply rooted in Caribbean heritage, showcase a dynamic fusion of music genres, captivating locals and visitors alike. The community adorned in elaborate costumes dance through the streets, while vendors offer Caribbean cuisine and crafts. The St. Thomas Carnival is an expression of the community's spirit and pride, embodying the island's rich culture for all to enjoy. Continue reading to discover things to do, what to wear, and some of our top tips if you are visiting the St. Thomas Carnival this year!

Things To Do

1. J'Ouvert Morning Parade

Kick off the festivities by joining the J'Ouvert parade, starting at 6:00 AM on May 2nd, 2024 along the waterfront. Covered in colorful paint and powder, dance through the streets in celebration of Caribbean culture.

2. Food Fair

Indulge your taste buds at the food fair on May 1st, 2024 at the Emancipation Garden, featuring a wide array of mouthwatering Caribbean cuisine. From savory dishes like jerk chicken and grilled fish to sweet treats like coconut tarts and rum cake, there's something to satisfy every craving.

3. Carnival Village Performances

Enjoy performances by both local and international artists throughout the day, and groove to performances from music artists like Patrice Roberts, Machel Montano, and Shaggy every night at the Carnival Village from 7:00 PM - 1:00 AM.

4. Children's Parade

Carnival welcomes all ages! Delight in the charming performances of children ranging from 2 years old and up at 12:00 PM on May 3rd, 2024. Watch as they dance, twirl, jump, and march along the streets. This heartwarming event guarantees smiles for you and your family throughout the festivities.

5. Adults Parade

A show stopping event starting at 10:00 AM on May 4th that features matching costumes, fun headdresses and lots of beads! Starting at the Western Cemetery and ending at the Lionel Robert Stadium, enjoy this parade all day. Enjoy exciting choreography, the infamous moko jumbies, and even fire dancers, this event is definitely worth going to!

6. Firework Show

End with a bang at the firework show on May 4th, 2024 at 9:00PM. Located on the waterfront, experience a magical night with friends and family. Grab a drink and snack while you sit on the sand and watch an exciting fireworks show with a stunning backdrop. 

What To Wear

For the St. Thomas, Virgin Islands carnival, opt for colorful and lightweight attire that reflects the vibrant spirit of the Caribbean. Consider wearing breathable fabrics like cotton or linen to stay cool in the tropical climate. Embrace bold hues and playful patterns to stand out amidst the lively crowds. Flowy dresses, shorts, and tank tops are popular choices for both men and women, offering comfort and style for all-day festivities. Don't forget to accessorize with statement jewelry, sunglasses, and comfortable footwear for dancing the day away. And of course, don't be afraid to get creative with costumes or themed outfits to fully immerse yourself in the carnival experience!

Our Top Tips

1.Transportation From Island to Island: The festivities are held in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas. If you are staying on St. John, you can take a ferry from Cruz Bay that will go straight there, however this ferry only has a few departure times, so make sure to look at the ticketing website to confirm. If the times do not work for you, you can still take the more common Red Hook ferry and catch a taxi to Charlotte Amalie. 

2. What To Bring: Get ready for a long day of fun in the sun! Ensure you're equipped with a backpack containing essential items such as sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses, hand sanitizer, and plenty of water to stay hydrated throughout the festivities.

3. Planning Your Day: Carnival starts in the early morning and goes all throughout the night, so if you are planning on hitting as many events as you can, it is important to plan out your day and come prepared. Start early and make sure to know when and where all of your top events are located.

St. John Carnival

An unforgettable celebration that embodies the warmth and vibrancy of the Caribbean.

The St. John Carnival is a lively annual celebration that captures the essence of Caribbean culture on the picturesque island of St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The entire celebration is a month long starting in the beginning of June with main events taking place from June 29th through July 4th, 2024, the St. John Carnival is much more intimate than St. Thomas, marking the end of slavery on the islands on July 3, 1848.

This festival is a vibrant showcase of music, dance, and tradition, drawing locals and visitors alike to partake in its colorful festivities. From energetic street parades adorned with elaborate costumes to music filling the air, the St. John Carnival offers a truly immersive experience. Watch the island come to life with the spirit of community as families and friends gather to enjoy performances, indulge in local delicacies, and celebrate the island's heritage. Continue reading to discover things to do, what to wear, and some of our top tips if you are visiting the St. John carnival this year!

Things To Do

1. Pan-O-Rama

If you live on island, or happen to be there a little earlier, we recommend checking out this epic competition of steel pan bands on June 10th at Franklin Powell Sr. Park. The steel pan is a primary instrument used during Carnival and this event brings some of the best bands together.

2. St. John J’Ouvert

Kick off the carnival with the main parade starting at 5:00 AM at the St. John National Park Dock. Experience a colorful procession featuring elaborate floats, vibrant costumes, and rhythmic music winding through the streets of St. John.

3. St. John Village

Immerse yourself in the heart of St. John's culture at the Cultural Village, opening on June 29th and located in the Cruz Bay parking lot. Explore traditional crafts, sample local cuisine, and enjoy live performances of music and dance that highlight the island's diverse heritage. Engage with artisans and performers to learn more about the unique traditions of St. John.

4. Emancipation Day Display

Come and celebrate the 175th anniversary of emancipation on July 3rd, 2024 at Franklin Powell Sr. Park. With the island's history and culture on full display, indulge with local cuisine, storytelling, musical performances and more!

5. 4th Of July Parade

Drawing in thousands of people, this parade is the highlight of the St. John Carnival. Showcasing steel pan bands and dancers dressed in feathers, sequins, and lots of glitter! Each group has a theme that inspires their costumes and choreography making it an unforgettable experience. This parade starts at 11:00 AM at the St. John National Park Field and lasts all day until the final fireworks display.

6. Fireworks Display

Conclude your carnival experience with a breathtaking fireworks display lighting up the night sky on July 4th at 9:00 PM on the Cruz Bay Harbor.. Gather with friends and family to marvel at the dazzling colors and celebrate the conclusion of another unforgettable St. John Carnival.

What To Wear

Vibrant colors are always the way to go when it comes to Carnival! Amp up your look with stacked accessories adorned with bright gemstones to make a striking statement. From elaborate headpieces to eye-catching accessories, the parade promises to be a feast for the eyes. Keep in mind the heat of the day and opt for comfortable attire that allows you to move freely.

Our Top Tips

1. Traveling: If you are staying on St. John, we recommend taking a taxi ride to Cruz Bay as parking is limited. If you are coming from St. Thomas, take the Red Hook or Charlotte Amalie ferry to Cruz Bay and you will be dropped off right at the heart of the fun!

2. Timing: Get there early! The celebrations on St. John are in a much smaller area compared to St. Thomas, so arriving early is helpful if you want to get a good spot for the parades.

3. Comfort Is Key: Dress fun while also prioritizing comfort. Light and airy clothing with comfortable shoes is the way to go. Also make sure to have sunglasses, sunscreen, and water on hand!

Vibe Jewelry’s Favorite Carnival Styles

Stand out while also fitting right in!

Now that you will be fully prepared for whatever Carnival sends your way, let's talk about jewelry! Let your accessories do the talking when it comes to your Carnival outfit. This way, you can wear light and comfortable clothing while still making a statement. 

Explore some of our best-selling styles below featuring Virgin Islands traditions. From hook bracelets to petroglyphs and even pieces designed to represent all three Virgin Islands, our jewelry is inspired by all things this beautiful island has to offer.