Carnival fun begins in earnest with tonight's pageant


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ST. THOMAS - Let the festivities begin.

While the nearly monthlong run of Carnival events and activities began with Sunday's Prince and Princess selection show, the celebration jumps into high gear tonight, when the Carnival Queen Pageant begins nightly events that culminate in the Adults' Parade on May 3 and a spectacular Fireworks by Grucci show that night over St. Thomas Harbor.

While the next 13 days following are expected to be mostly fun and games, government officials are reminding the community that respecting the rules of the road and following the law is important for keeping everyone safe and ensuring a happy Carnival for everyone.

Parking

- The Fort Christian parking lot is closed until May 11. Drivers in need of parking in the area are encouraged to use parking spaces downtown and on the waterfront.

- The V.I. Police Department has said it will be lenient with vehicles parking in downtown and surrounding areas while the Fort Christian lot is closed. Timed parking areas will not be enforced while the lot is closed, according to V.I. Police Department spokeswoman Melody Rames.

However, police will ticket or tow any vehicles that violate traffic laws, Rames said. For instance, only handicapped persons can park in handicapped spaces.

Other spaces that cannot be blocked include sidewalk access ramps, fire hydrants, crosswalks, other vehicles, driveways, entrances of homes and businesses and public roads.

Additionally, no parking will be allowed less than 15 feet from a corner.

- During the day and evening, parking will be allowed along the southern side of Norre Gade, from the former Wet Willy's to the Professional Building, and also on the waterfront apron. When leaving the apron, all vehicles can make a left turn only, Rames said.

In the evening, parking will be allowed on the western side of Hospital Gade, from Veterans Memorial Park to the former J. Antonio Jarvis School.

- During the evening, parking will not be allowed on the southern side of Main Street or on the eastern side of Hospital Gade, from Veterans Memorial Park to the former J. Antonio Jarvis School.

No parking will be allowed in front of the senior citizens' reviewing stand on Norre Gade; on Norre Gade adjacent to the Grand Hotel and Economic Development Committee; in the bus stops; or along the sidewalk on the southern side of the Carnival Village.

- For Lionel Roberts Stadium events, traffic on the roads surrounding the stadium will be reduced to one-way traffic to facilitate the safe and expeditious movement of vehicles and pedestrians, according to police.

J'ouvert

V.I. Police is asking the community to help make this year's J'ouvert safe.

Last year, three people were shot during J'ouvert, and one of them was left in critical condition. The celebration, which occurs early on the morning of May 1 this year, was shut down shortly after it began last year.

"The utmost thing we want to preach this year is to leave their problems and troubles in the past," said St. Thomas-St. John Police Chief Darren Foy. "We want this to be a safe and happy Carnival."

The police also are asking that the public be the officers' "eyes and ears," by reporting to law enforcement if they suspect or expect any conflicts to arise.

Officers will be assigned to patrol specific areas and events, Foy said.

During J'ouvert, other rules also will be in place, including:

- Minors or individuals who do not possess a valid driver's license are not allowed to operate vehicles in the J'ouvert festivities.

- Individuals are not allowed to operate a vehicle if they have consumed alcohol or prescription medication within the last eight hours if it will impair their operation of the vehicle.

- Only personnel authorized by the chief of police are allowed to sit on the speakers on the trucks.

- All vehicle operators should be properly seated behind the steering wheel of the truck with the driver's door closed.

- No one is allowed to stand or sit in the area of the fifth wheel or between the cab and the trailer of the large trucks.

- Police are asking motorists who are not participating in J'ouvert to use alternate roadways, such as Harwood Highway, Kronprindsens Gade, Back Street, Main Street and other roadways routed toward the Northside.

In addition, the V.I. Carnival Committee has called a meeting for all J'ouvert participants at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Carnival Committee office.

Representatives from the V.I. Police Department and other officials will be in attendance and available to answer any questions.

For more information, contact the Carnival Committee at 776-3112.

Parades

The same traffic rules applied to J'ouvert will be applied to the parades, according to police.

Additionally, no parking will be allowed on any of the southern and northern roads that are connected to the parade route in such a manner that the road is blocked from emergency vehicles.

No chairs or tents are allowed along the parade route, including in Educators Park and the sidewalk in front of Educators Park before 6 p.m. Friday. Any chairs placed before the date and time will be removed, police said.

Horse race day

Parking restrictions also will be in effect on Nadir Road in front of Clinton Phipps Racetrack on the day of the Carnival horse races.

Vehicles are allowed to park on the main road, which are Nadir and Bovoni roads from Nadir intersection to Bovoni Center, if the vehicle wheels are not on or over the solid white line into the roadway.

- Contact Jenny Kane at 714-9102 or email jkane@dailynews.vi.

Tonight: Queen Selection Show, 8 p.m., Lionel Roberts Stadium.

Sunday: Toddlers Derby, Best-Dressed Doll, 5 p.m., Lionel Roberts Stadium.

Sunday: Traditional Games, 7 p.m., Lionel Roberts Stadium.

Monday: Carnival at Schneider Hospital, 6 p.m., Hospital lobby.

Tuesday: Junior Calypso Competition, 8 p.m., Lionel Roberts Stadium.

Wednesday: Cultural Night-King and Queen of the Band, 8 p.m., Lionel Roberts Stadium.

Thursday: Calypso Competition, 8 p.m., Lionel Roberts Stadium.

Friday: Opening of Carnival Village, 6 p.m., Fort Christian parking lot.

April 26: Calypso Revue, 8 p.m., Lionel Roberts Stadium.

April 27: Water Sports, 10 a.m., St. Thomas Waterfront.

April 27: Steelband Jamboree, 5 p.m., Lionel Roberts Stadium.

April 29: Pre-teen Tramp, 6 p.m., Market Square to Children's Village.

April 29: Senior Citizen's Quelbe Tramp, 8 p.m., Market Square to Carnival Village.

April 30: Cultural and Food Fair, 8 a.m., Emancipation Garden.

May 1: J'ouvert, 4 a.m., Veterans Drive.

May 2: Children's Parade, 10 a.m., Market Square to Lionel Roberts Stadium.

May 2: Carnival Races, Clinton Phipps Racetrack.

May 3: Adults' Parade, 10 a.m., Western Cemetery to Lionel Roberts Stadium.

May 3: Fireworks by Grucci, 9 p.m., St. Thomas Harbor.

May 3: Calypso Spectakula-Last Lap, 10 p.m., Fort Christian parking lot.

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