The end of Carnival fireworks had a special twist this year: according to his family, the last volley shot Sunday night was dedicated to the memory of Steve Bornn, who used to organize the annual display.
That last cannon also carried some of his ashes, and the rest were spread over Grand Hotel Square the morning of the Adults’ Parade. Bornn died of Lou Gehrig’s Disease in late 2017, and was best known for his involvement in Carnival and the promotion of the territory through special events and film.
Sunday’s tribute was one of many seen over the weekend, as several other troupes during the Adults’ Parade paid homage to loved ones lost over the past year. Perhaps just as poignant were those who honored Irvin “Brownie” Brown, the territory’s legendary radio personality and V.I. Carnival master of ceremonies, who was best known for his catch phrase, “Good ‘ting.”
Calypso monarch Khemoi DeSilvia paid tribute to Brownie in song while traveling up the parade route Saturday, and many said it was fitting that Brown’s son, Delano “Pressure Busspipe” Brown appeared to be the contender for Road March champion, with his song “Do It And Done” played by almost every entrant.
Coming down the road Saturday, the Elskoe and Associates Carnival troupe also honored two of their own – Eleanor Garcia and Alphonso Webster – who organizers said passed away in 2018. Elskoe was the second oldest troupe in the parade Saturday and came down the road with a “music and masquerade” that paid tribute to the memory of its honorees, and the spirit of the Carnival they’d been a part of for so many years.
Some tributes weren’t posthumous, however. The oldest troupe in V.I. Carnival each year continues to be the Gypsies, who put forth a candy-themed entry in honor of Ronnie Lockhart, who was on hand Saturday for the party. Lockhart, among other things, has been a fixture in the troupe for decades, and came up the road clad in an orange bow-tie and glittery top hat. Gypsies members matched in a rainbow of colors scattered across tutus, wigs and even accessories, including candy trays that showcased everything from wrapped sweets to cakes.
Finally, the entire parade paid tribute to the Traditional Indians troupe, which generally closes out the event. Clad in their familiar headdresses, moccasins and loincloths, this year’s troupe colors were purple and black, which were also reflected in the members’ feathers and the decorations on their staffs and shoes.
The troupe has been going for more than 30 years, according to organizers, and is unique in that it is not accompanied by a DJ or band truck when coming up the route. All music comes from the Indians’ drum line, which has been headed for the last several years by Sen. Steven Payne and his brother Clarence Payne.
The parade’s grand marshal this year was Robert Boschulte, who has been a member of the Traditional Indians for three decades.