St Helena people love parades and parties.
There are around three or four major celebrations through the year and a number of lesser ones when the Scouts and Guides march with the local police force and the local brass band.
The St Helena day parade celebrates the day that St Helena was discovered by the Portuguese navigator Joao da Nova on his voyage home from India in 1502. Over here it is always a public holiday and more so this year as we were expecting the opening of the new airport this weekend. Sadly that is not yet to be but it didn't stop the party from happening.
The year 2016 is noted for it not only being my last St Helena Day, at least for a while, but also that of the RMS St Helena, moored in St James’s bay ready for one of her last voyages to the UK which set off a couple of days later.
These celebrations actually started earlier in the year when each district of the island planned the assembly and theme of their floats. Considering we are in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, it is amazing the amount of items are sourced for the floats and the amount of ingenuity which goes into each project. The theme for this year was transport through the ages.
Weather was pretty much perfect for a day in the open air. Not too much sun but enough to make the temperature a pleasant 24 degrees. As quite a windy island, with dusty blasts sometimes gusting debris into people’s eyes, it was a relief to know that today the wind stayed away.
Eventually things got off to a start around 3.30 with the procession winding its way down upper Jamestown toward the market and the main town and onto the sea front.
Although in terms of distance it’s only around a mile from start to finish the convoy takes its time and eventually arrives at the finish having entertained the whole island with displays of music, colour and laughs.
The winning float was chosen to be the St Pauls District entry which was the donkey and cart. A not so long ago form of transport used here up until very recently. The entry was complete with sound system which brayed loudly across the valley just in case we didn't know it was a donkey.
Following on from the parade were celebrations at the Mule Yard, Donny’s bar and Sea Front which lasted until the wee hours.
I missed the firework display at 8.00pm which was a shame.
I went home to check on my photos and never made it back out of the house.
Must be something to do with my age!
I did however get some nice pictures of the town in the early evening sunlight and managed to start this blog.