No worries, just sheer joy at J'ouvert
Published: January 3, 2013
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ST. CROIX - Thousands of revelers danced and gyrated through Frederiksted to pulsating music Wednesday morning, as the sun came up and J'ouvert got under way.
The Crucian Christmas Festival's biggest tramp lived up to the hype, with thousands casting off their cares and embracing the sheer joy of dancing in the streets.
"This is the best time ever," said Jackie Hughes, as she danced past in costume.
Hughes and her brother Johnny came to the fete sporting plenty of tinsel and lots of carefully-arranged empty beer cans. They were dressed, she said, as Crucian Festival Christmas trees.
The siblings were raised on J'ouvert and come for the bacchanal every year, Hughes said.
"We just come to celebrate," she said.
Steady streams of revelers - scantily clad women, men dressed in skirts, people of all ages and sizes sporting camouflage gear - made their way to the Hannah's Rest stoplight Thursday morning to jump up behind their favorite bands and dance their way through town.
As giant speakers atop flatbed trucks blasted pure soca sound - and primal rhythms reverberated along the route - the party snaked down Emancipation Drive and along Fisher Street before making the final turn down King Street for a long, steady descent into the heart of Frederiksted town.
The party got off to a late start, well after the sun rose.
Plenty of people had come to watch the spectacle go by.
Marie Perinon had come with family and friends to see J'ouvert and had set up about halfway through the route.
"We just come out to have a good time and watch everybody celebrate," she said. "This is the time that people come out in the weirdest, craziest outfits ever."
She hadn't decided yet whether they would join the fray when it arrived.
"It depends on the bands, the music," she said.
By mid morning, as more people joined in, J'ouvert was a packed mass of roiling, writhing limbs and bouncing bodies, some waving flags or towels - and some waving tree branches.
"It's an opportunity to just be free and let loose," Liz Burton said about the appeal of J'ouvert.
The V.I. Police Department was highly visible Wednesday, with a team of officers escorting each truck. There were no major incidents, said V.I. Police Department spokeswoman Melody Rames.
John and Gigi Somers, making their first visit to the island from Michigan, had waited along the route on Wednesday to see the spectacle - and said they weren't disappointed.
"You don't know what to expect. You hear it, you keep hearing it, it gets louder and louder. It builds and builds. Then it kind of explodes in front of you," John Somers said. "I had absolutely no idea what to expect - and then, 'Boom!' "
Crucian Christmas Festival activities continue tonight with the Calypso Monarch Finals at 8 p.m. at Island Center.
- Contact Joy Blackburn at 714-9145 or email email@example.com.