The Fifth Annual Dominicanos Parade rolled slowly through Christiansted Sunday, very colorful and extremely loud.
People were in high spirits, boisterously celebrating Dominican Independence Day. Hundreds of people lined King Street, waving and yelling greetings to folks on flatbed trucks decked out in decorations of red, white and blue with huge speakers blasting Domincan music.
“Loud” was the only word Sam Halvorson, from Dive Experience, used to describe the parade.
“The purpose of the parade and celebrations are so all the people who live here learn both cultures,” said Humberto O’Neal, parade and village coordinator. “It goes both ways. And we want to show we appreciate what Virgin Islanders have done for us.”
O’Neal said 42 entrants took part in the parade this year, about the same as last year.
Flags of the Virgin Islands and the Dominican Republic were hung on telephone poles all along the route. Organizers were giving out U.S. Virgin Islands and Dominican Republic flags. Folks were wearing red, white and blue showing their pride in the Dominican Republic.
Miss Virgin Islands/Dominican Republic, Liuvi Arrendell, a senior at the St. Croix Educational Complex, led the parade.
The Complex Marching Barracudas strutted their stuff, playing horns that glistened in the sun. All sizes and ages of St. Croix Majorettes showed off their skills. Young girls in the Ballet Folklorico Dominicano, dressed in bright red, yellow and orange plaid dresses twirled and danced down King Street. A dozen shinny jeeps rode in the parade carrying local queens and princesses.
“This is a nice celebration with a parade, a lotta good food and everything,” said Roland Figueroa, watching the parade with his kids.
St. Croix residents Peter and Helga Fiette said the parade was beautiful, and called it a nice way to spend Sunday afternoon.
The parade goers moved on to the David C. Canegata Recreational Center and Sports Complex for more revelry at the village.
Food vendors sold pates, roti, rice and beans, chicken and fish and local fruit drinks. Music and dancing is planned to go on until closing at 1 a.m.
Santra Band performed, as did Wandel Manuel and the Sonic Band from the Dominican Republic, playing traditional bachata music. Local bands also performed.
O’Neal said Presidente Beer, brewed and bottled in the Dominican Republic, was the major sponsor of the events. Metro Motors donated a 2013 Ford Focus for a raffle, with proceeds to go into staging events in 2015.
The group is planning to make 2015’s celebration even bigger and better, O’Neal said. Organizers want to make it a weekend-long celebration.