Carnival activities begin with a bang

POSTED: 01/9/12 4:44 PM

MARIGOT, St. Martin – Carnival 2012, which is themed Let’s do it together, got off to jammin’ start on Sunday with a short parade from the Gendermerie to the Community Center in French Quarter. This is the first of four such events to get people warmed up for the festivities. The next three such events will be in Grand Case, Sandy Ground and Marigot.
Sunday’s opening event included the four contestants in the Miss Carnival and the four contestants in the Miss Pitchounette pageant, adults and children in colourful costumes and revellers behind a big truck. Philippe Richardson, who’s come out of retirement, to lead the festivities was also very much present and says the carnival is “good to go.”
“I have a good team that I can send out there to do anything and I can consider it done. It’s our culture. I am back and willing to work with anybody,” Richardson said.
The team he speaks of is the leaders and volunteers in Festivites Carnavalesque de Saint Martin, which is organizing this year’s carnival. They’ve already managed to get support from the Collectivité of St. Martin, but they also want businesses to contribute. The organizers are also open to more troupes signing up for the parade days. Twelve junior and seven senior troupes have already signed up.
“I’ve done my homework on staging the various events but the success is because of the members of FCDSM, which is the organizing committee,” Richardson said.
The Carnival Village will be erected on the grounds of the skate park in Galisbay on February 12, just ahead of the start of the children’s parade. Richardson is hoping that the spot, which is owned by the Collectivité, will be made available permanently because he’s tired of seeing the festival “get shifted left and right.”
“If we can utilize it, it can become a permanent venue for future carnivals,” Richardson said.
This year’s festivities are aimed at building confidence among sponsors in the new organizing committee. It is also meant as a platform for local artists to profile themselves. They’ll keep that latter focus in time to come, but they’re also open to working with promoters who want to feature regional and international artists.

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