Kerry Biddle-Chadwick

Carnival season comes to St Maarten

Published on Tuesday, May 8th, 2018 by Kerry Biddle-Chadwick

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What's This?

Carnival – that time of year when the main road into Philipsburg is dedicated to feathers, sequins, and loud music.

Carnival season comes to St Maarten St Martin

Marvelous color combinations vie for attention on the route | Photo Credit: Binkie Van Es

This year was no exception. Carnival troupes came out in all their glory to strut their stuff and show off their costumes in front of the crowds gathered on either side of the road.

The weather was fine and hot and drinks vendors did a roaring trade on the side of the road. Around midmorning, the barbeque fires were lit and ribs and chicken soon made the rounds among the hungry Carnival goers. Being a whole day affair, there are usually many places to choose from for food or drinks and if one runs out, there is always another to take its place.

By the time late afternoon crept onto Front Street, the first revelers could be seen dancing and jiggling down the street, feathers bobbing and sequins flashing. Of course, the music was so loud that the progress could be heard way before any dancers could be seen, but that just added to the anticipation.

Carnival season comes to St Maarten St Martin

Feathers, color, and glitter adorn the Carnival troupes | Photo Credit: Binkie Van Es

Cameras flashed and people ran into the street for a quick photo with a beautiful girl or handsome duo. Press photographers were everywhere, weaving in and out of the crowds to get a good shot.

As the first truck drew level with where we were standing, the full force of the speakers beat upon our chest and eardrums, before the next bank of speakers crept past on the back of a truck with more fantastical costumes bedecking the troupe dancing behind it. So it went on until finally the last troupe had passed and the blare of sound started to abate somewhat.

Another successful Carnival is over, until next year. Oh but wait, there is still the party at the end of the parade to go to if you haven’t had enough for the day.

Carnival season comes to St Maarten St Martin

As one troupe passes, so the next comes up with more feathers and their chosen theme | Photo Credit: Binkie Van Es

If you are planning to be on the island for Carnival next year and haven’t experienced one yet, be warned. The parties and dancing often last until the wee hours for the week preceding and on the night of the main parade. Pace yourselves and stay hydrated.

The parade itself starts in the morning and ends in the late afternoon, so make sure you have a hat and plenty of water on hand if you are watching on a stretch of road where there are no stores or restaurants nearby.

Above all, have fun. See you at the Carnival!

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Read more: Sky high with Rainforest Adventures St. Maarten

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