Kids take to the streets during Children's Parade


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ST. THOMAS - Hundreds of children tried not to crack too big of a smile as their family and friends egged them on while they made their way down Main Street in the Carnival Children's Parade on Friday.

Dressed in outfits embellished in gems, sequins and patterns, all of the children put on an entertaining show - whether displaying their talents or their claims to royalty.

The parade, which consisted of 40 different entries snaking their way down Main Street from Market Square to Lionel Roberts Stadium, started about 10 a.m. and lasted into the late afternoon.

"It was hot," said Edlyn Gumbs, a 14-year-old twirler with the Sebastien Majorettes.

This year was Gumbs' first year performing and her first year attending the parade. She said she usually just watches the parade on TV, but she was thrilled to be part of it this time.

"I felt confident. We knew we had to perform and put on a good show. We had to smile," Gumbs said.

The audience got just as much enjoyment out of watching the children - who ranged from toddlers to teenagers.

"I just love the parades - that's the highlight of Carnival," said Linette Reid, who has been attending Carnival her whole life.

Reid, who is originally from St. Thomas, now travels the United States and Canada as a truck driver, but always returns to St. Thomas for Carnival.

"It's full of talent and our future kings and queens. They are so beautiful," Reid said. "I wish it could be longer."

Many of the participants were royalty from their respective schools. The elementary, middle and high schools sent their princes and princesses dressed in crowns, sashes and formal wear and riding in hot rods.

Pink and aquamarine were the choice colors for most of the princesses, who had their dresses billowing over the backs of the convertible cars that they were propped up in.

Between the sets of royalty, sets of majorettes wowed the crowd by tossing their batons up in the air while spinning and keeping time.

Some of them kept time by the music playing out of giant stereos on the backs of the trucks, while others played to the jamming of their own bands.

Many of the schools sent their students out to play steel drum arrangements in two-story trailers that were bouncing with the beat.

"I liked it when I saw my classmates," said 7-year-old Nikolas Homer, who was excited to see his peers from Gladys A. Abraham Elementary School in the parade. "I would like to play the drums."

The parents, as usual, were probably the most ecstatic of the fans, watching their sons and daughters take part in a tradition that many of the parents took part in when they were younger.

However, the parade used to be one big production, starting in 1952 before it became separate parades for the children and adults.

"I'm an original Stunt and Twirler," said Kristi Peters, who watched her 5-year-old daughter twirl with the revived twirling group on Friday. The group was discontinued several years ago, but came back last year.

"I did it, so my daughter's going to do it," Peters said, noting that it was a great way to stay active and keep tradition. "She loves dressing up and going to the parade. She loves the camera."

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

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