|Dateline: Paradise (August 16, 2012)|
|Written by FREEMAN ROGERS|
|Thursday, 16 August 2012 09:20|
My parade awards
Every year, official judges present awards to outstanding participants in the August Monday Parade. They recognise the best troupes, the best moko jumbies, the best bands and so on.
But because other deserving participants sometimes get left out, I often present my own awards. As usual, they are listed in no particular order.
• The Worst Dancer in the History of Festival was the guy who mistakenly believed he was a member of the Treasures of the BVI troupe — even through he was wearing a blue shirt and plaid shorts, while all the other dancers sported bright yellow feathers. He danced jerkily down Waterfront Drive with the female troupe members, grinning widely. And his only prop was a mixed drink.
• The Best Disguise went to the grandmotherly woman pushing a small coffin as a warning to youths to avoid crime. When I got close to her, I did a double take: This particular grandmother had a thick goatee and a gravelly voice. When I recovered from my surprise, I realised it was Reole “Limpin’ Jack” Frett, a regular parade participant, in costume.
• Mr. Jack also won the Poetry Laurel for the poem written on his float: “Listen to your mothers; yield to their advice. Don’t let guns fool you; don’t let your life pay the price.” On a related note, he also got the award for The Only Poem in the Parade.
• The athletes who were playing cricket on a truck bed were the Most Likely to Get Hurt. Surrounded by depictions of famous cricketers such as Cyril Romney, they were actually bowling and hitting the ball back and forth. They must have been pretty good at it, though: I heard no reports of serious injuries.
• Early Arrival Accolades go to all the princes and princesses who rode on a float near the front of the parade. As usual, these young children had to sit in the hot sun waiting for the event to get under way hours after its scheduled start time. Then they had to smile and wave patiently as the vehicle proceeded slowly down Waterfront Drive.
• Perhaps their discipline was related to the nearby Twirling Striders en Masse float. It included a photograph of Eugenie Glasgow, a past principal of the Road Town Primary School whose image wore the Sternest Gaze of Festival. I took one look at the photo and knew immediately that Ms. Glasgow was an excellent principal — and that I should find my seat and stop talking.
• The Smartest Parade-Goers were those who brought umbrellas. They stood underneath them when the sun was shining — and when it started raining and panic set in, they didn’t have to move and inch. However, they were also the Most likely to Poke an Innocent Reporter in the Eye.
• The BVI Post incited the Wildest Chaos by handing out free umbrellas right after the rain started. The crowd went crazy trying to get them. The attendee who asked me to get one of the umbrellas for her had the Worst Idea of Festival. When I neared the melee, I was nearly torn to shreds.
• The Smoothest Operator was the lone boy in one majorette troupe. The audience chuckled when he marched past with his female counterparts, but 10 years from now I suspect he’ll have more girlfriends than he can count.
• The Best Vendor was selling colourful hats near the Palm Grove Shopping Centre. Dozens of them were strewn across a table and nearby bushes.
• Showtime Band gets the Green Award for recycling: Members gave out dozens of plastic bottles, which Festival-goers rattled as they danced to the song “Shake the Bottle.” Last year’s props were less eco-friendly: Before singing “Pushin’ Bush,” the band passed out small tree branches.
• The hard working employees of the Department of Waste Management were the Best Unofficial Troupe. Though they were not technically in the parade, they followed right behind it, diligently cleaning up the trash strewn across the road.
• Finally, the August Emancipation Festival itself was the Best Reason to be a Journalist in the Virgin Islands. Covering the holiday is always a blast, even if no one thinks to give you an award.