p style=”text-align: center;”>~ 27 days to shake off Irma ~
PHILIPSBURG:— The St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF) released the official schedule of events for Carnival 2018 on Christmas Day. Framing the release of the schedule as a gift to Carnival lovers on Christmas, the foundation erased all doubt that St. Maarten’s largest annual event will be held in 2018 and included on the schedule a night called “Shaking Off Irma”. Per usual, the schedule is presented through SCDF’s long-standing corporate sponsor Scotiabank.
Following the passing of hurricane Irma, the SCDF is determined to repeat the efforts of 1996 when one of the most successful Carnival festivities was held after hurricane Luis. The foundation released a schedule that features 27 days of Carnival events (including pre-carnival events), with 21 days in between the official opening of Carnival Village on April 12 and closing on May 2.
All of the international shows that have become staples on the Carnival program will be held in 2018; The One Love Reggae Concert, Noche Latina, Night of the Hit Makers, Caribbean Flag Fest and Bacchanal Sunday. One new international concert has been added called “Soulful Company”. The SCDF said more information about this night will be released at a later date.
The schedule also features popular local events including the Calypso competition, Soca Rumble, Band Clash & Roadmarch competitions, three parades, a family fun day, Culture Night, Jouvert and more. The SCDF also included a locally themed night called “Shaking Off Irma” (a free night) and a $5 Jouvert Aftermath event on the night after Jouvert Jump-Up which is annually a very difficult night to host a large show.
Together with the Village Cook-up night (a free night), Carnival lovers will have two free nights on the schedule and one very inexpensive one. The foundation and the respective promoters are also conscious of the fact that the entrance prices for their shows should be a little less than usual.
The pre-Carnival events are highlighted by several Road to Carnival jump-ups and parties as well as the lighted parade of Rio Productions and the Children Balloon parade of the Survivors group.
The only shows not present on the schedule this year are the queen pageants. Posh Productions, who organizes the pageants on behalf of the SCDF, last month announced that the pageants will not be held considering the harsh economic climate and the fact that the contestants would not find an easy time acquiring funds for their participation in the pageants.
“People aren’t coming up to us and asking if there will be Carnival, they are telling us we better have Carnival,” President of the SCDF Alston Lourens said. “Our people need Carnival not just for the release of stress and to have a culturally great time, but Carnival is a significant part of St. Maarten’s economy.
“It extends our high season, it drives business all over the island and touches almost every sector. It facilitates employment through many of our large contractors and service providers and it gives local entrepreneurs the opportunity to operate small businesses (booths) in the Carnival period. We are very thankful to find ourselves in a position to host Carnival 2018 and look forward to the cooperation of everyone to make it a successful one despite our challenges. We have done it before and we will do it again.”
The Carnival schedule was designed by Cleon Frederick of So Contagious Studios with major photography by Luca Zambrini.
SCDF Press Release