Thursday, January 5, 2012

'It's a sanctioned incident'

It starts at 5 in the morning. It's crazy loud. It's like nothing I've seen anywhere else.

It's J'Ouvert (pronounced zhou-vay, apparently French in origin.) Or as we like to call it, the St. Croix Annual Public Humping Festival.

This year the police reported no incidents, unless you consider the whole thing an incident. "It's a sanctioned incident," Tori said.

Six flatbed trucks hauled bands on a route about two, two and a half miles. Thousands of people flock around dancing. Well, that's a very mild word, dancing. There's gyrating, there's writhing, there's humping, a lot of humping, most of it, oddly, between girls. Some guys humping girls, but a lot of girls on girls.

I covered it again this year for the Sour

ce – my story is here and you can find the video here and here. I warn you I didn't shoot most of the most outrageous behavior. I wouldn't be able to use it in my story or video so what was the point? You'll have to use your imagination.

And yes, there were kids there. Kids in strollers. Six years. Nine. Many being supervised by parents who were behaving a lot like everyone else. Lot of high schoolers. And on up into at least one woman in her 70s. I saw a bank manager, and a professor, and the kid who bagged my groceries just a few days ago.

St. Croix is a very churched community, by which I mean there are a LOT of churches, with five or six always in some stage of construction as well, and a lot of people go to church. And then there's J'Ouvert. And the difference is so striking, and the so sincere. And I wonder sometimes which is the real St. Croix. Or is it both?

This picture shows the dense throng of revelers. Moments later, just a little farther down on King Street the road kind of funneled between two buildings and it was wild. The temperature actually went up noticeably from all the bodies packed so close together. All I could do was huddle over the camera bag to prevent the equipment from getting wet or covered with powder. It got a little intense.

Anyway, tomorrow is the Kids Parade, and Saturday is the Adult Parade, which i the real highlight of festival. I'll have videos of both up.

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