Aerial shot of Carnival Village during Carnival 2016.
PHILIPSBURG–In response to many calls, Carnival Village will feature quite a number of new booth-holders for Carnival 2017 as St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF) continues to give opportunities to new people to operate booths during Carnival. There will be ten new booth-holders in Carnival Village this year. The Village caters to 79 booths.
SCDF specifically seeks to give young St. Maarten persons who are “beaming with new ideas for Carnival” an opportunity to bring their ideas and creativity into the Village. SCDF President Alston Lourens said the foundation had afforded several people an opportunity to operate a booth over the past few years, which had only yielded positive results.
The foundation has been criticized by public and Government in the past for not giving others an opportunity to operate a booth.
“There are Carnival-lovers who, from the outside looking in, see various creative ways that they can contribute to Carnival and more specifically Carnival Village. We have seen new booth-holders do things with and at their booths that some visitors to our island actually come back to experience,” Lourens said.
“We have seen new booth holders start the trend of specialty drinks with creative names and foods that have become the talk of Carnival. So new, energetic ideas enhance the overall Carnival experience and we are happy to give young and not-so-young business people an opportunity to operate what is basically a small business for three weeks.”
SCDF opens registration for booths for interested persons every year, giving the person who had the booth the year before first preference when deciding to whom to allot the booth. The fact that a person operated a booth the year before does not guarantee that said person will be allotted the booth the following year. This is clearly outlined in the operating agreement that every selected booth-holder signs.
“Who operates a booth is entirely at the discretion of the SCDF based on its vision for Carnival Village and the activities therein. There is this misconception that people actually own booths in Carnival Village and this is incorrect,” Lourens said.
“Carnival Village is the heart and soul of Carnival. Its ambiance and activities have to grow with the festival. We always boast that Carnival is all-inclusive; well, this should count for Carnival Village as well. We have to give others the opportunity to be part of whichever aspect of Carnival they want to be part of.
“We appreciate those who have operated a booth in the past and for a number of years. They form part of Carnival lore in some cases. But there comes a point in time where there will be a turnover of booths based on how the SCDF would like to see the Village progress and based on the simple fact that Carnival belongs to the people and as many of the people as possible should get an opportunity to be an integral part.”