Count on arriving early for a spot in the shade, but don’t plan on remaining there. Observers frequently become participants, dancing with the parade or tramping behind the Virgin Island Pale Ale float for free brews.
On July 3, Emancipation Day commemorates the freeing of slaves by the island’s Danish colonizers in 1848. The following day, America’s Declaration of Independence is celebrated.
The celebration begins days before at the rainbow of stalls in Festival Village in Cruz Bay, St. John’s main town. It offers concerts, crafts, and local food.
Evening brings the mechanical whirl of carnival rides from the adjacent Children’s Festival, and families meander between the two venues.
The best way to unwind is on a long swath of white sand. The island is two-thirds national park, with a plethora of pristine beaches.