SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) – The St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF) on Monday released the schedule of events for Carnival 2020. Beginning in March with the first pre-Carnival event, the Carnival 2020 schedule will feature 27 days of various Carnival activities.
There are eight pre-Carnival events in March before the official part of the schedule begins on April 16 with the opening of Carnival Village. The festivities come to a close on May 4. “We are coming off of a very large, fun and yet very challenging 50 years celebration of Carnival. We pulled off the biggest Carnival ever and were very proud of that. We had the novel idea to scale back 2020, but this is almost impossible with the size of the festival and what the country, corporate partners and stakeholders expect,” President of the SCDF Alston Lourens said.
The schedule features the regular amount of jump-ups (5), parades (3) and international concerts (6). Most of the locally themed events also return including the Senior Calypso Competition which has been placed before Jouvert Jump-Up.
There are two new events to the Carnival schedule. The first is a Pan Explosion Concert featuring the best in steel pan from both side of the island. “Pan music is missing from Carnival and we were determined to address that this Carnival after going through an anniversary year without it. This concert will feature the best in pan music, mixed in with some other surprises. We hope it gets full support from the public,” Lourens said.
The other new addition to the schedule is a change to the second day parade. The parade will now be called the Sunset Labor Day Light Parade. Lourens explained: “This is still the second day parade, but we will light up the costumes and start at sunset. So the costumes and revelers you see on the first day (Grand Parade) you will see the second day but all lit up. In addition to this, we have approached our corporate sponsors to participate with floats that would be fully lit as well. We believe this event have the potential to grow into a fun, new attraction for St. Maarten Carnival and a new marketing tool.”
Not on the schedule for Carnival 2020 are three of the four Carnival Queen pageants. Lourens explained that while registration was decent for the Teen, Senior and Mature pageants, after the contestants started their preparations and realized that obtaining sponsors were a challenge, the participation numbers dwindled below the minimum to have a pageant.
“As such we decided to move on without those pageants, host the junior pageant as a pre-Carnival event and focus on the other three for next year,” Lourens said. Soca Rumble is not on the schedule after the promoter of that event announced in late 2019 that she will not be hosting it for Carnival 2020.
“The residents and visitors of St. Maarten are in for another memorable Carnival. Once again we offer the best Carnival product in the North Eastern Caribbean. All Carnival Village booths are filled, all concerts allotted, troupe leaders are getting ready, music being prepared, bands gearing up. We started a little late this year due to the Parliamentary elections, but this won’t change the fact that the public can expect another great Carnival season,” Lourens said.