Each of the three main U.S. Virgin Islands — St. Thomas, St. Croix, and St. John — host unique cultural events each year. Here are some of our favorites on St. John:
Paradise Jam: Each November, eight NCAA Division I men’s and women’s basketball teams meet in St. Thomas for the annual Paradise Jam, a week-long tournament at the University of the Virgin Islands that represents a competitive early-season tuneup for some of the nation’s top collegiate teams.
Valentine’s Day: Valentine’s Day is a HUGE day on St John, since the nickname for St John is Love City! To encourage couples to renew their marriage vows, St. John offers a free marriage vow renewal ceremony every Valentine’s Day at 5pm on Trunk Bay beach. So far, nearly 1,000 couples have renewed their marriage vows on Valentine’s Day!
8 Tuff Mile Road Race-February: This one is for you if you are up for a challenge. Whether you are a walker or runner lots of people turn out for this race which starts in Cruz Bay and ends in Coral Bay. 1,500 people sign up for this grueling endurance race…give it a try!
St. John Blues Festival: U.S. blues artists flock to the Coral Bay Ball Field on St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands for the annual St. John Blues Festival.
Transfer Day – March 31st marks an event that occurred over eight decades ago, when the Danish West Indies were formally ceded to the United States by Denmark; thus, becoming the U.S. Virgin Islands, in exchange for twenty-five million dollars (which today is the cost of one or two Peter Bay villas!)
VI Friends of the National Park ‘Beach-to-Beach’ swim (Sunday of Memorial Day weekend): This challenging open water swim in the pristine and protected waters of VI National Park. There are three courses to choose from, all of which start at Maho Bay Beach. Swim to Cinnamon Bay, swim to Trunk Bay, or go all the way to Hawksnest Bay!
St John Festival: “Carnival” begins month long activities including lots of music, parades, and caribbean food! Carnival season is a time for celebrations joined in by the young and old. St John Carnival continues into July (3 and 4) includes the opening of the Festival Village & Cultural Day (Emancipation Day) and concludes with J’ouvert, one of the most popular events of Carnival. It is an early morning party July 4th as people dance through the streets behind their favorite bands; followed by a parade full of lots of mocko jumbies and floats and music; and then an evening fireworks over Cruz Bay harbor.
Love City Triathlon This triathlon consists of a half-mile swim, 14-mile bike ride and a four-mile run. The event begins in Maho Bay, then circles St. John and ends at the Annaberg Ruins. Award divisions for the triathlon are top five male, top five female, top three relays, and the Inter-Island Award. Each team must consist of at least one female, and all three of its members must be individually entered in the triathlon. The top three combined times are declared winners, and each of these teams has its island’s name mounted on a trophy, which will be displayed the sponsor’s establishment.
Flavors of St John-October: A wonderful event highlighting the very talent chefs of St John. Flavors bills itself as an evening on the beach with music, dancing and St John’s best food. Dozens of local restaurants and bars prepare samples of their best fare while attendees vote for their favorites. This is the St John Rotary’s annual fundraiser that attracts lots of locals and visitors alike. Usually held at the Westin.
Coral Bay Thanksgiving Regatta: The first day of sailing is the single-handed and gaffers race. The regatta’s second day features a pursuit-style race, where each boat has an individual start time calculated on handicap and performance the year prior. The 17-nautical mile course winds around the uninhabited islands of Pelican, Flanagan and Le Duck east of Coral Bay. The Regatta is a fundraiser for the Kids and the Sea (KATS) Program, a non-profit marine organization which promotes kids safely having fun on the water through an educational program taught by volunteers. Fun for both islanders and vacationers.