The Emancipation Festival is held in August of each year, commemorates the 1834 Emancipation Act which abolished slavery in the British Virgin Islands. This festival is sometimes called the Tortola Carnival, although it is celebrated with events in partying on all of the islands.
The Emancipation Festival is a major event throughout the British Virgin Islands, and events are held on all of the islands. Generally, the atmosphere includes a bit of everything from boat races to parades, parties, and things you might find at a big county fair. The party atmosphere includes lots of live music, dancing, and food along with the requisite foolishness such as donkey races and greased pig catching contests. Food booths line the streets with tempting island fare. This is a don’t-miss event if you plan a bareboat chartering trip in late July or early August.