“The Union Island Easterval started in 1966 when Unionites, most notably the Selby Brothers, who resided then in Trinidad and Tobago, began to return home for the Easter holidays to organize and participate in water sports and games. The weekend festivities, which ran from Saturday to Monday, centered mainly on athletics, boat racing, all-fours competitions, beach picnics, and the curtains would come down with a big last lap dance party at the Ashton Friendly Society Hall or the Ashton Government School,”
From those humble beginnings was to grow a festival that is only rivalled by the explosion of colour, mas and music that is Vincy Mas, St. Vincent and the Grenadines major cultural festival.
The organization of the festival has undergone a number of changes. “Over the years Union Island Easterval was organized by a number of groups. In the 60’s, it was the ‘Easter Committee’ ran mainly by the Selby brothers from Ashton then in the 70’s , the activities known then as the ‘Union Island Easter Water Sports and Games’ were coordinated by the likes of Dennie Wilson and Victor John.
In the first half of the 80’s the reins of control passed to yet another group named the ‘Rising Sun Sports Club’ under the leadership of Denzille Stewart and Lloyd Joseph. From 1986 to the late 1990s Easterval was staged under the auspices of the Organisation for Social Development and Educational Reform (OSDER) spearheaded by Ken James, Ashwa Stewart and Wayne Regis among others. It was OSDER which coined the name ‘Easterval’, extended the activities from a weekend to one full week and, broaden the participation to include Barbados, Dominica, St. Lucia, Grenada and Trinidad among other islands.
Following OSDER’s stint, Easterval was then placed in the hands of yet another group known as the Union Island Easterval Committee led by persons such as Ken James, Ashwa Stewart and Lesroy Noel. This Committee has been organizing Easterval for the last fifteen years.
One of the main features of the Easterval festival is the crowning of a Miss Easterval.
The Union Island Easterval, which has been around for some 50 years, has already made a name for itself, not just in St Vincent and the Grenadines and the region but in parts of the United States, Canada and England. This cultural tradition has become symbolic of the heritage of Union Island, and in some ways, define the uniqueness of its people.