This Tuesday marked the beginning of spring vacation for the school children of St. Barths. While the adults celebrate Mardi Gras with a Carnaval celebration on March 4th, the primary schools on the island hold an annual children’s Carnaval parade through the streets of Gustavia.
Gathering at the harbor front, every school is represented by a team, complete with their own theme and costumes. With noisemakers and confetti in hand, the children and parents assembled in their costumes and prepared for their march through the streets: hula dancers, a Chinese New Year Dragon, and an army of chefs all formed in a cue, followed by a local Calypso band.
The procession began in front of the harbor master, and set off past Le Select with diners and onlookers smiling and cheering. They continued down Rue de General de Gaulle, past the small boutiques and cigar shops and continued back toward the harbor giving the lucky patrons of La Cantina a taste of local culture along with their delicious lunch. Guests above the waterfront shops (La Coste and Pati de St. Barth, to name a few) watched from their street side verandas creating a scene reminiscent of Bourbon Street…a child-friendly version of course.
As the parade arrived back at its starting point, proud parents greeted their children and the music continued with snacks and refreshments. A great event for families, the Children’s Carnaval was a nice precursor to the festivities to follow next Tuesday when the official Carnaval will kick off in the streets of Gustavia- where revelers will celebrate Mardi Gras with an elaborate parade and parties to follow. Most of the restaurants along the waterfront have specials for the evening and the party definitely continues at night spots like The First Floor and Le Yacht Club. Get your costumes ready for the raucous festivities that are a highlight of the spring season here in St. Barths.