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Happy St Helena Day 2018 – The Good Ole Days Float Parade

GUNNY BAGS, FLAX AND BOSTON DANCING | Sharon Henry

We Saints love a good street and float parade and today’s celebration of St Helena Day brought on smiles, foot tapping and merriment as the island marked 516 years since discovery.

The floats are always the highlight of the day and organisers, New Horizons set the theme this year as, ‘The Good Ole Days’.  From the top to the bottom of Jamestown the streets were lined with onlookers wanting a good view of the procession.

The effort put into float production, as always, was tremendous. The fun and lively spirit of the different groups parading was contagious, generating a happy atmosphere despite the grey skies and an occasional sprinkle of rain.

Some of the flot banners. The theme for St Helena Day 2018 floats was, ‘The Good Ole Days.’

 

The Good Ole Days On St Helena

Leading were the beautiful Miss St Helena 2018 contestants who smiled and waved to the crowds from two floats made by the Half Tree Hollow Community Centre.

The entry from Harford School was entitled, ‘St Helena Livin’ in the 1950’s – all the way from Longwood, la.’  They had farm animals, a pig, goat, cow and donkey, straw, firewood, lanterns and gunny-bag clothes and shoes.  The Harford dancers had a good knees-up of country dancing to ole-time tunes including island anthem, ‘When The Saints Go Marching In.’

This Old House…

St Paul’s district had three floats entitled, ‘Bringing Back the Home Spirit.’

A spinning gramophone was one of their floats.

A second entry was a house consisting of a kitchen and sitting room, complete with a stocked food safe, smoking chimney, Portuguese nails on the roof, royal family picture, tin bath, enamel mugs, chamber pot and jug, old telephone, radio, reclining wooden chairs and even a traditional buck’s-horn fly catcher hanging from the ceiling.

Final float from St Paul’s, trailing at the back was ‘the end,’ an out-house – which was evidently occupied!

St Paul’s also had country dancers who jigged, kicked and twirled all the way down the street. Dancing was choreographed to old-time tunes seemingly played by a home-grown, three-man band sat inside the ‘sitting room.’ The ‘Boston’ dance, a favourite in decades past, enjoyed an energetic return.

Ready for the parade. The 2018 theme for St Helena Day was, ‘The Good Ole Days.’

 

St Helena Day 2018 Floats In The Rain

Isaac’s Contractors’ and New Horizon’s combined entry was a 1950’s flax mill. It included piles of flax waiting to be fed through the stripper and turned into string.  There was a life-sized donkey carrying a flax-load and mill workers carrying a placard stating, ‘We demand representation by secret ballot.’

And lastly, there was a small band of conservationists on foot, the LEMP entry, dressed as birds, insects and flowers. Their interpretation of the good ole days was the year 1501 – before St Helena’s discovery and man’s arrival on the island!

It was entertaining to see the different interpretations, and that to many, the ‘good ole days,’ were before the mod-cons of internet, TV, and flush toilets.

Once again (they did it last year as well) St Paul’s took 1st place, their attention to detail not going unnoticed.  In fact, their entry was so good it could easily be a museum instalment.

First Official Duty For Miss St Helena 2018

The St Helena Day celebrations began earlier in the day at 10am with a service on Jamestown’s, Grand Parade, under the jacaranda trees.  The peal of bugles and beat of drums from the Scouts’ Band set off the day’s proceedings as the island’s uniformed youth groups marched from the Canister to the Parade Square.

Miss St Helena 2018, Gemma Lawrence, had to stifle an attack of the giggles before she could perform her first official duty of delivering a speech during the St Helena Day opening service, which she did with aplomb.  She spoke of following your dreams and always believing in yourself.

Besides the float parade there was the Jacob’s Ladder Challenge, a fun run, novelty team sports and live music.  On sale were cupcakes, boiled pudding, flax flowers, second-hand books, handmade jewellery and trinket boxes, candy floss, face-painting, and homemade fudge and marshmallow.  Yum!

It was a very, happy St Helena Day.  We hope you had one too.

Here’s a selection of pictures from St Helena’s special day. Enjoy!

Miss St Helena, Gemma Lawrence, performs her first official duty of delivering a speech at the opening ceremony to St Helena Day 2018 celebrations. Gemma was crowned just nine days earlier.

 

St Helena Day 2018 celebrations are officially opened by the Acting Governor of St Helena, Louise MacMorran.

 

Images from the opening ceremony, including the Jamestown Scouts’ band.

 

The Gettogethers Orchestra provide the opening ceremony music for St Helena Day 2018.

 

The Jacob’s Ladder Challenge has become a part of the programme on St Helena Day.

 

An impromptu display of how islanders used to descend Jacob’s Ladder in days gone by – sliding down the rails.

 

Waiting for the 2018 ‘The Good Ole Days’ parade to start.

 

Clothes and shoes from ‘gunny bags.’ The 2018 theme for St Helena Day was, ‘The Good Ole Days.’

 

St Helena Day 2018 float entry from Harford School at Longwood – Pop’s Farm.

 

Harford School float beginning the parade through Jamestown, starting at the hospital.

 

Spectators watching the St Helena Day parade from the upstairs windows in Jamestown.

 

Contestants from the recent Miss St Helena pageant, riding through Jamestown on the Half Tree Hollow float.

 

Contestants from the recent Miss St Helena pageant, riding through Jamestown on the Half Tree Hollow float.

 

The Harford School ‘farm’ animals float taking part in the St Helena Day 2018 parade.

 

The St Paul’s old-time house float taking part in the St Helena Day 2018 parade through the streets of Jamestown

 

Some of the authentic old furnishings on the St Paul’s old-time house float – radio; buck’s-horn fly catcher; sliding/recliner sitting room chairs; food safe; flower vase. St Helena of old on display.

 

More great detail on the St Paul’s old-time house float – bath time the way it used to be on St Helena.

 

The St Paul’s old-time house float taking part in the St Helena Day 2018 parade through the streets of Jamestown

 

‘The End’ of the St Paul’s old-time St Helena house float – the out-house.

 

St Paul’s dancers making their way down through China Lane – St Helena Day celebrations, 2018.

 

The LEMP ‘Good Ole Days’ entry for the St Helena Day 2018 parade.

 

St Helena Day parade celebrations, always great entertainment for residents of Jamestown.

 

St Helena Day parade celebrations, always great entertainment for residents of Jamestown.

 

A 1950s flax mill float by New Horizons and Isaac’s Contractors, taking part in the St Helena Day 2018 parade.

 

Donkeys provided all the transport required in the days of the flax industry on St Helena.

 

A 1950s flax mill workers by New Horizons and Isaac’s Contractors, taking part in the St Helena Day 2018 parade.

 

A 1950s flax mill float by New Horizons and Isaac’s Contractors, taking part in the St Helena Day 2018 parade.

 

Spectators in the rain at the St Helena Day 2018 parade.

 

Dancing in the rain – St Helena Day 2018 parade.

 

Spectators in the rain at the St Helena Day 2018 parade.

 

Dancing in the rain, across The Bridge, at the St Helena Day 2018 parade.

 

The Jamestown Post Office, always a good viewing platform for street parades.

 

Street dancing in Jamestown.

 

St Helena Police keeping things moving and safe.

 

Getting a good view of the Jamestown street below – St Helena Day 2018 celebrations.

 

The Saint Helena 2018 parade finishing beneath the tower of St James Church as the sun finally comes out.

 

The 2018 parade finishing in the Parade Square, beneath the tower of St James Church as the sun finally comes out.

 

 

COMMENTS

  • Lawson henry

    May 24, 2018

    Thanks for sharing beautiful pictures CAPTURing days gone by, showing saints community spirit.

  • Alan

    May 23, 2018

    Great photo’s. For those of us who look on from a distance it brought the atmosphere to life.

  • Patrick G Henry

    May 23, 2018

    Great stuff guy’s showing our old history, wonderful capture of our past, well done to all who were involved. Really wonderful pictures.

  • Doreen

    May 23, 2018

    Thank you! It was great seeing everybody! Love from California.

  • Chris Daniel

    May 22, 2018

    Thank you for the story and photos of the day. So good to see pride in the island’s heritage together with creativity, imagination and a sense of humour!

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