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Somebody say... there's a Carnival in Virginia! TJJ heard that and heeded the call to showcase yet another festival to the world!! (Mikey - Enjoy Meh Life play)

Making the trek down from the Washington, DC area to Norfolk Virginia, was not bad one bit; and seeing the TJJ fans already there upon arrival was complimentary. As we touched down and made way to the Marriott hotel, things were already in place for our arrival. The excitement in the air could be seen by the hundreds of folks walking into the hotel with their laundered white outfits, matching hats, scarfs, shoes and their splash of color in accessories. Some had their costume head pieces in hand along with their luggage. You know the saying, "It's not how you dress... it's how you accessorize!" And all this preparation for what? For the 8th year in a row, the Virginia CaribFest Committee of Norfolk, VA, kicked off their carnival festivities by hosting their pre-parade "J'ouvert Boatride" on Friday August 16th. The boat ride preceded the "8th Annual CaribFest Parade of the Bands and Concert" on the Saturday.

Sold out a week before the event, the J'ouvert Boat Ride was as good as people said it would be. With close to 500 patrons aboard the Spirit of Norfolk, sailing time was set for 12AM, yet the boat was rocking even before that time. Complimented by two top of the line DJ's (Touches and Quick Draw), this boat ride would not have been complete without the number one singing MC in the business ... MC Wassy ... always just passing through. As the boat set sail and the DJ's got to playing on two floors, Wassy grabbed the mic and there was no looking back for this sold out, fun filled boat ride on the 'Spirit of Norfolk' on carnival Friday night. (Lyrikal - Conquer Meh play)

The decor of the boat was unique. It carried two dance floors, two full bars, enough seating for everyone and even had a third floor just in case you wanted to get some air. Food was included for partygoers and TJJ made sure that we sampled the wings... My Oh My!! Let's just say that they were pretty good. There was an open bar available. The service certainly could have been a bit faster to alleviate the long lines, but the courteous bartenders made up for that.

As the night progressed, the party went on nonstop. The boat docked and not a soul knew. This was evidenced by the fantastic vibes and euphoric feeling that everyone was experiencing. By 3AM, as patrons hung out by the bake & shark and doubles vendor after leaving the Spirit of Norfolk, the talk of the morning was the featured headline act for the Parade of the Bands ... DESTRA! (Destra - Call My Name play) Everyone was excited.

By 12PM on Saturday morning, the parade was in motion. With the Virginia Caribbean-American Cultural Association (VCACA) staff in full deployment, their was no stopping this parade. Even though the rains threaten to remove make-up, the VCACA president Mike Forde and his team ensured that no stone was left unturned. Even with a short route, every aspect of the parade was very well organized. From the bands, to the trucks, to the steel pan, to the judging station.... a VCACA member could be seen to assist in moving things along and coordinating the entire process efficiently. From sailers to moko-jumbies, from dance troops to flag waivers, from the young to the old, from supporter to masquerader..... the streets were filled and lined and all directions led to Town Point Park, Norfolk. The Virginia CaribFest was a small but absolutely growing festival and were were happy to see supporters of both the Atlanta and DC carnivals at this event.

The park itself has a beautiful layout that featured a huge, well lit stage for all the acts to come. The plush lawn boarded the Crayford Bay and the Elizabeth River, home of the USS Wisconsin, giving the aesthetics two thumbs up! The location was perfect. The park was filled with vendors of all kinds. We enjoyed the funnel cakes and the jerk chicken the most.

The show got on the way by 2PM and there was no looking back. Roots band 'Session Rockers' performed very well and held the audience in fine style. As more of the rains and threats of a thunderstorm seemed imminent, the people of Norfolk and all the travelers to the carnival were very well prepared. Everyone... and I mean everyone.... had an umbrella! It so happened that the same thing occurred last year. The good news is that no one left the park! This year, as MC Wassy kept the hype from start to finish, Vybe Evolution and several other performers kept all the patrons on their feet with good music, excitement and pure carnival vibrations.

Drawing to an end, one of the top female soca performers to date, Destra Garcia, gave a shortened but thrilling performance to the delight of the soaked Caribbean crowd. Destra thanked the organizers and the people for withstanding the blessings from above and closed out the concert right at 8PM.

We had a wonderful experience in Norfolk at the 8th Annual Virginia CaribFest and are looking forward to 2014 already! As this carnival continues to grow, supporters will be pleased with the hospitality of the organizers, the scenery, the availability of lots of food and drinks and just pure good ole fashion fun.

As we conclude, we cannot forget the folks of the VIP tent who had us laughing all the time. And moms who made the sorrel... WOW! You made it like my mommy use to!! MC Wassy and your better half, much respect. We even saw singer and song writer Bobby Redd in the mix. To my empress and your family, thanks for supporting. To Mr. Ben Boozer, thanks for assisting TJJ. To Jason and the DC promoters who made the trip, big ups. To the staff, Mike, Pat, Abby, the stage manager, the ladies that managed the VIP tent and all the staff of the VCACA, thank you for a great event and for showing TJJ love!

For more information on this carnival, visit them at

We Love Carnival ... We Know Carnival ... WE ARE CARNIVAL!

Virginia CaribFest 2013

As Always,
Joy Juice .... Out and About!

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