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Children's Parade Turns Dull Day Bright

April 29, 2005 –– At 11 a.m. no cruise ships were in the harbor. Traffic along the Waterfront was sluggish at best. The darkened underbelly of a rain cloud moved over town, leaving behind a smattering of rain. Charlotte Amalie was exhibiting the signs of a slow, hot, off-season day. Except, that is, for the bands of outrageously costumed children being shepherded along sidewalks and across streets by over-heated parents, and the throbbing noise drifting along the labyrinth of alleys connecting Waterfront to Main Street.
A walk up any one of a dozen alleys was like stepping into another realm. The throbbing quickly resolved into the joyful sound of 100 steel pans played all at once mixed with dueling road bands, mixed with cheering and clapping and whistling and marching and more.
In two second's, Children's Parade proved beyond a doubt that Carnival is alive in 2005. Though the crowds lining the parade route seemed thinner than in year's past, the people were no less appreciative of all the hard work that goes into the parade.
At noon the Territorial Court Rising Stars were just pulling past Market Square, their skyscraping trolleys jumpin' up in the street to the rhythm of scores of youngsters who danced and smiled at on-lookers as they played.
Just in front of the Rising Stars were the Charming Twirlers Majorettes in shimmering costumes of red, white and silver. The rain long gone, the girls had no choice but put up with the heat. Among them was four-year-old A'Deja Buchanan who explained –– with a little help from mom –– that this was her first time in the parade and she was having a ball.
Meanwhile, across town at Lionel Roberts Stadium, four young girls were locked in a competition to see who will be crowned this year's Miss Lockhart Elementary School. The small contestants took to the stage and introduced themselves to the judges and the crowd, smiled their most winning smile, and curtseyed to applause and cheers and the snapping of cameras.
Preceding the little miss's on the stage were the 37 young students of the Montessori School troupe, "It's A Global Bricolage." According to Sen. Shawn-Malone, a life-long Carnival fan and choreographer for the Sebastien Majorettes, the Montessori kids had just executed a perfect May pole dance, plaiting dozens of long, colored streamers as they danced around each other and the May pole in circles.
Shournagh McWeeney, Montessori school administrator, explained, "The May pole streamers represent the global collage of people, and the dance is about everything, all of the colors and the people coming together. The kids did a fabulous job!"
Back out on the parade route the children were still going strong as they headed toward the stadium and the waiting judges.
The students of Addelita Cancryn Junior High School opted for an Egyptian theme this year and marched along proudly adorned in gold and turquoise, whereas the members of the University of the Virgin Islands, 4-H program, went under the sea for its inspiration.
The 4-H kids proclaimed that not only is Carnival alive, but "Marine Life is Alive in 2005." Some were dressed as fish, while others were dressed as coral reefs –– with both healthy reef systems and unhealthy ones well represented in the colorful costumes.
But as with all Carnival activities, the Children's Parade isn't just about marching, dancing, twirling, steel-panning and May poling. It's also, at least a little bit, about food. And there was plenty to be had here and there along the route.
Paulette Joshua was selling hot dogs, water, cookies and Vita Malt from a food cart across the street from the stadium. "This is my first year selling food during the parade," she said, adding that so far business had been good.
All told, there were 42 entrants in this year's Children's Parade, up from 39 last year. However, the Carnival Committee's press representative, Bobby Thomas, confirmed that some groups who signed up had to cancel at the last moment. Thomas said he wasn't sure who dropped out.
Just before 2 p.m. the Traditional Indians passed Market Square, the bustling young tribesmen and women signaling, along with the drummers, the end of the 2005 Children's Parade. But Carnival fun is far from over. The Adult Parade is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. Saturday, and with 49 groups set to march, the mas and pageantry promises to outshine even the hot Caribbean sun.
For a photo journey through Children's Parade, go to Community/Other stuff
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