If you ask Anguillians what their most anticipated holiday is, you will almost always get the same answer: Anguilla’s Carnival. It is even more beloved by locals than Christmas! Anguilla’s Carnival is a series of exciting festivities leading up to the main event: The Champion of Champions Boat Race. Anguilla’s Carnival is always held around the first Monday in August (AKA August Monday), celebrating the island's national sport of boat racing. However, this holiday is not limited to just one day. Anguilla’s Carnival features weeks of festivities including boat races, costumes, parades, parties, and incredible live music.
Anguilla is known for its relaxing and laid-back island atmosphere. However, it is far from what guests are used to during the Carnival. It is one of the biggest beach parties in the Caribbean, and the beach is buzzing from sunrise until sunset! Here are some event highlights of the island’s most anticipated holiday, Anguilla’s Carnival 2022!
Night & Light Street Parade in The Valley
When: Held on Friday, July 29th, 2022
The celebration kicks off with a parade full of fireworks, musical performances and contests to mark the start of Anguilla’s Carnival. Competitions showcase the creative talents of Anguilla’s youth, such as Afro-Caribbean music performances in the Junior Calypso Show. The events take place in Landsome Bowl Culture Center, and winners will go on to share their victory in the Grand Parade of Troupes.
The South Valley Street Festival/Bandclash
When: Held on Saturday, July 30th, 2022
The South Valley Street Festival is another exciting event that features a medley of music, booths, and locally prepared foods. As night falls, the legendary “Band Clash” kicks off with local soca bands vying for both cash and bragging rights with their original compositions. The winning band’s arrangement will also be played throughout Anguilla’s Carnival. The South Valley Street Festival is a great place to hear local bands perform their latest music and see the competition unfold.
J’ouvert Morning Street Jam
When: Held on Monday August 1st, 2022 at 5 AM
The J’ouvert Morning Street Jam takes place on the morning of the awaited August Monday! August Monday is eventful, to say the least, with a line-up of music, boat racing and parties. The J’ouvert Morning Street Jam begins bright and early at 5 AM. Participants will gather to march across the island to Sandy Ground. Bands will also compete again; however, this time on floats! The party only continues once they arrive at Sandy Ground for the main event.
The Champions of Champions Boat Race
When: Held on Monday, August 1st, 2022 at noon
On August Monday, the qualifying boats will set sail in the season's final race, The Champion of Champions Boat Race. This is the main event of Anguilla’s Carnival holiday, so you can expect music, tents, and boats lined up across the shore, ready to party. Sandy Ground has BBQ stands serving chicken, ribs, rum punches, and other delicious foods and beverages to keep folks fueled throughout the day. The championship boat race signals the end of the Anguilla boat race season and draws intense competition. The race lasts most of the afternoon, so the excitement continues while spectators are packed along the beach to see who the Champion of Champions is really.
Eyes Wide Shut
When: Held on the Thursday, August 4th, 2022
If you aren’t partied out quite yet, Eyes Wide Shut is the ultimate event for the party seekers on the island. It begins at midnight and finishes up the following morning! This event has become one of the most talked-about parties on the island. It features performances by regional and international artists and some of the biggest soca stars worldwide. One year, Machel Montano - a soca artist from Trinidad - drew in record crowds from all over the Caribbean. Billed as Anguilla’s ultimate daybreak fete, it will surely deliver on its promise of fun and good vibes!
The Grand Parade of Troupes
When: Held on the Friday, August 5th, 2022
The Grand Parade of Troupes is a procession of vibrant and magnificent costumes and floats that trails through the island’s capital. The streets come alive with dancing and local music, and anyone is welcome to watch or join in on the revelry. The Grand Parade of Troupes is a fun and memorable way to experience Anguillian culture during Anguilla’s Carnival.
Full of parades, parties, and boat races, Anguilla’s Carnival is never a dull moment. The first August Monday celebration dates back to 1940 and began solely as a boat racing event. It has evolved over the years to become one of the biggest beach parties in the Caribbean!