'Awesome' revelry closes out Carnival

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ST. THOMAS - It was a perfect day for a parade.

The cool breezes and slight cloud cover kept the troupes and musicians in good spirits and full of energy to turn out top notch performances for the thousands of spectators.

The 2014 Adults' Parade was led by grand marshal Lubin "Butch" Roberts, a stalwart in the Carnival scene and president of the Jesters Carnival Troupe.

The Jesters paid tribute to Roberts as well with the theme, "Jesters Through the Years," which featured the many colorful costumes from past years.

The Gypsys is the longest running troupe in the parade, and they went back to the very first Carnival for their theme.

To honor Carnival's very first king and queen, Leo and Carmen Sibilly, the Gypsy's dressed like kings and queens themselves. With red, blue, white and gold costumes, the kings and queens also had glittering crowns and goblets that were always full.

The float had a castle and two thrones, where Carmen Sibilly and her son - as his late father - reigned, waving to the cheering crowds.

Gypsys Carnival Troupe members Chanel and James Boschulte Jr. said the troupe has been in every single Carnival parade since 1952. After reaching Lionel Roberts Stadium and the end of the parade route, they were enjoying the rest of the parade as spectators.

"It was awesome," Chanel Boschulte said.

The Infernos' theme was "The Warrior Within" and the costumes were tribal with animal prints accenting the sequins, beads and feathers. Several sections had different color themes, a brown and gold with leopard print, coral and beige, yellow and turquoise, and a few neon green.

Wearing a headdress, a gigantic fan of light coral and beige feathers, Infernos member Jill Farley said it is crazy how much work goes into getting a troupe parade ready.

"Last night the costumes weren't ready, people were yelling," she said. "But then it all comes together."

"The parade is always a lot of hard work, but on that day, when you're there, it's totally worth it," she said.

The throngs of people watching the parade from the Grand Hotel Square may have the benefit of seeing the full, judged, performances from each troupe, but there were many other spots along the route that served as a good location to enjoy the parade.

With the playground equipment nearby and the soft grass and shade, Roosevelt Park was a haven for parade goers with small children.

Marie Walter, mother of five, had her children relaxing on picnic blankets under a shade tree in the park, just behind the senior citizen viewing stand. The family was keeping cool, taking naps and snacking on the food and drinks from the multiple coolers Walter had brought.

"We come every year to this spot," she said.

A little further down the route on Norre Gade, Sheron Alexander was cooling out with a friend, taking in the sights.

"I would say it's a little better than last year's," she said.

She said her favorite parts of the parade are the costumes and music.

Originally from Trinidad, she now lives in New York. She has come for the St. Thomas Carnival for the last five years.

"I'm from where Carnival is from, so I know what Carnival is," she said.

The Pardy Hardy Carnival Troupe made a statement with a breast cancer awareness theme.

King of the Band Troy Titley was a Caribbean butterfly with hundreds of colored jewels shimmering in the sun. He said the butterfly symbolized the many phases of cancer, and that the troupe wanted to pay tribute to cancer awareness.

Four sections were dressed in different color combinations, but all had the pink ribbon incorporated into their costumes. Some were costumed in hot pink and silver, some in purple and fuchsia, deep turquoise and fuchsia, and the last section was neon green with hot pink. A towering mocko jumbie in hot pink brought up the rear as the group danced to the sounds of Venomous Poizon band and their road march "Sweep the Floor."

The last, and largest, troupe of the evening was Hugga Bunch, who made their way into the Grand Hotel Square as the sun was setting.

"El Dorardo, A Lost City with Streets Paved of Gold," was the theme and the float carrying a large gold temple was preceded by hundreds of dancers.

Blue, green, red and yellow feathers, all heavily accented with matching jewels and lots of gold.

The head pieces for the costumes channeled the Spanish conquistadors searching for the lost city of gold, with golden helmets fringed with tall feathers like a mohawk. The intricate detailing also blended tribal elements like golden wrist cuffs and arm bands, and large neck pieces glittering with gold and jewels.

The St. Thomas Tropical Masqueraders, with bells on their shoes and masks on their faces, put on an energetic show jumping around in time to Jam Band and taking their cues from the whistle and cracking whip.

Closing the parade as they do each year were the Traditional Indians. Dressed in two shades of light blue and white, the small mirrors sewn on to their costumes glinted in the setting sun, although it was full dark by the time they reached the Grand Hotel Square.

The pulsing drums brought an end to a long day of fabulous entertainment, live music and rich culture.

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