86.8 F
Cruz Bay
Thursday, July 25, 2024
HomeNewsArchivesCane Bay Turns Funky Town with 6th Mardi Croix Parade

Cane Bay Turns Funky Town with 6th Mardi Croix Parade

Feb. 2, 2008 — People in masks, wigs, costumes, and funky T-shirts tossed beads, candy, painted coconuts, sodas, Jell-O shots and all manner of unusual items from slowly rolling floats Saturday as music shook the air during the 6th annual Mardi Croix parade at St. Croix's Cane Bay.
Tents and tables lined the route, selling souvenirs, knickknacks, food and drink. A burgeoning crowd of tipsy, tanned tourists, snowbirds and Crucian families milled about the parade route in flip-flops, carrying plastic party cups. The beach was filled with bathing-suited sun worshipers and many went from parade to beach and back, shouting hello to friends and neighbors, eating burgers and hot dogs and imbibing a beverage or two, before, during and long after the parade.
"This may be the biggest and best Mardi Croix parade so far," said Jerry Jones, a parade grand marshal and host of Jones Dem in the Morning on Paradise 93.5 radio. "The turnout, the crowd may be the biggest yet too."
Jones wasn't alone in that assessment.
"This year is the biggest I've ever seen — a lot bigger," said Jack Hamilton of Chicken Charlie's. Hamilton was driving a truck hauling the Chicken Charlie's float: a tin-roofed chicken shack on wheels. A rusty-red rooster looked out at the crowd from a square cage and a stuffed raccoon seemed to peer over the shack's roof while the The Grandsons band belted out New Orleans jazz with drums, bass and brass. The Grandsons are playing at Rhythms at Rainbow Beach Sunday afternoon.
A color guard and drums from the V.I. National Guard led the parade. In between floats were horseback riders in colorful Mardi Gras masks and costumes, costumed people on foot, big middle-aged men on loud Harley Davidson motorcycles and various cars full of parade marshals and celebrants. St. Croix resident Stephen O’Dea brought his donkey Eeyore, leading groups of young children, three at a time, around on the friendly beast's back.
"Why do we do this? Because it's fun," said Hamilton. "It's good for the North Shore too. Most big events on St. Croix are in Frederiksted or Christiansted. This is good for all the North Shore businesses."
Zalika Freeman and Marjorie Jones, both St. Croix natives, were new to the Mardi Croix parade.
"We're enjoying ourselves," said Freeman. "This is our first time but it won't be our last. This is fun."
Seth Wilcoxon of Cleveland, Ohio, was experiencing his first Mardi Croix too. Wilcoxon is making a midwinter visit to his St. Croix friend Steven Schawl, and after hearing about the parade from Schawl, timed his visit so he could join the party.
"This is great," said Wilcoxon. "What a great spot for a parade, here in the sun right by the sea."
Many have been coming since the start of the festival too.
"We've come I guess to pretty well all of them," said Jack Keil, a retired police officer who comes to St. Croix every winter. "This was the best so far."
Val Stiles was on the West Indies float with her grandson Tyler Donohue. Donohue, 14, was 8 when he rode a float in the first Mardi Croix and hasn't missed one since, said Stiles.
This year's parade theme was "Funky Town," and some of the floats brought in '70s disco music dancing. But fun was the real theme. The Kids Krewe, led by "Bid Daddy Oliver" Cornelius, epitomized both. Riding a truck emblazoned with "Funky Down to Funky Town" and the word "Disco" in big letters, Cornelius had a cab full of kids, a truck bed full of kids and a float on a trailer packed with kids having good clean fun on a Saturday afternoon.
The pre- Mardi Gras St. Croix parade is the biggest celebration put on by the social organization; Krewe de Croix. They also put on the popular Krewe de Barkus dog parade every year.
Tom and Dory Tiblier, a pair of longtime St. Croix transplants who originally hail from New Orleans, helped found and continue to organize Krewe de Croix.
"It's good old community fun," said Tom. "That what it's about, and supporting the businesses of the North Shore, thanking them for all their support of us, the Krewe de Croix."
"When we started it in 2001, it took us 22 months to get the proper permits the first time around," said Dory. "So welcome to insanity. We wanted the parade to be something for the whole family, especially for kids. We begin weeks and months beforehand and try to keep going year round."
Both Tibliers emphasized the community and volunteer aspect of the celebration. "It's all good fun for everyone on the island and the world who wants to come. We have kids who fly in for vacation in the winter and help with the floats every year," said Dory.
"It's all volunteer work," said Tom. "We had parties to paint coconuts and shak shaks — rattles made from Flamboyant tree seed pods — and people work on the floats all year. There's no budget. We put it together with $1,500."
After the parade wound its way from La Vallee to Cane Bay and dispersed, some went back home or to work. But many more lingered on, filling up the beach, picnicking, partying and swimming. Bands played at Sprat Net, Bogeys and the new Full Moon Bar above Cane Bay Dive Shop and all the other North Shore establishments stayed packed all day.
Leona Smith was named Grand Patriarch of Mardi Croix 2008. This year's parade winners were:
— 3rd Runner Up: Kid's Krewe with their Funky Down to Funky Town disco themed entry;
— 2nd Runner Up: Coconuts Restaurant with a pirate-themed float;
— 1st runner up; Chicken Charlie's chicken shack, and;
— Best Overall: Krewe LaVallee's Finest
Back Talk

Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Keeping our community informed is our top priority.
If you have a news tip to share, please call or text us at 340-228-8784.

Support local + independent journalism in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Unlike many news organizations, we haven't put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as accessible as we can. Our independent journalism costs time, money and hard work to keep you informed, but we do it because we believe that it matters. We know that informed communities are empowered ones. If you appreciate our reporting and want to help make our future more secure, please consider donating.