Gordon Yee takes top prize – Explosion of color for Grand Parade

POSTED: 05/4/14 10:55 PM

St. Maarten – Approximately 25 troupes and several corporate citizens participated in the highlight of St. Maarten’s 45th Carnival celebrations, the joint Junior and Senior Grand Parade on Wednesday. And amidst a kaleidoscope of colors, sequins, feathers and revelers, Gordon Yee Productions has been singled out as the best adult troupe this year. Yee dethroned Jasmine Philip’s Survivors with her 45 Years of Sweetness, a 200 strong troupe that featured 5 sections designed by Derek Sargeant.
For his efforts, Yee’s mas camp gets prize money totaling $10,000. The veteran production house ruled the road with Pink Icing, Orange Liqueur with a  Touch of Cherry, Cupcake, the flaming red costumes of Casanova, A Taste of Black + White and the green peacocks of Graceful.
Throughout the parade, the troupe’s participants maintained their high energy performance and vibrancy for almost 8 hours. In addition to the best troupe award, Yee also netted the Best Individual Costume.
Survivors was adjudged first runner up for the adult section of its troupe which featured masked men and women wearing African print two-pieces and peacock headdresses.
The winning float was that of Randolf Scot (scientist) called Pleasure Time. It featured a giant three tiered cake with champagne and a steady supply of bubbles.
A stable in every parade has been the character Gunsmith as Master of Masters.  On Wednesday he was accompanied by Crab Eye Engineer and Bottom Secrets, all comedic personalities. For the second time around the St. Maarten Medical Centre also participated in the Grand Parade with Bedazzled Warriors. This troupe featured revelers in Egyptian costumes with large fans and cobra heads while the float comprised a large pyramid in the centre of a desert oasis.
Government owned companies TelEm, Telcell, GEBE, UTS and SXM Airport also featured prominently. Nathalie Parotte, Morena Ignacio Troupe, Vixen Pirates by Minvera Jones, Da Party Bus, B & C Beverages, Rene’s Driving School, Step Up Productions with The Explosive Butterfinger, Safe Haven, Insel Air, Robbie’s Lottery, ICC Cargo, Annick Arrindell, Rooster Party Bus, Subway, Heineken and Motorworld with a showcase its top 2014 vehicle models were all part of the fete.

Survivors Troupe was judged winner for the Junior Parade Troupe and Individual Costume categories with Her Glory,Her People, Her Pain, a troupe that paid homage to the survivors of various cancers and diseases. The brightly colored children costumes all had red, purple and pink ribbons attached to them representing HIV, colon and breast cancer awareness. The troupe won $5000 for a well deserved win.
The first runner up position went to Mo Fantasy  with Real Clown Kids while Nemo and Friends by MOMs was selected as the Winning Float for the Junior Parade with a re-creation of the Disney underwater classic. Other children troupes included Happy Kids depicting Tinkerbell & Friends, Felicito Arrindell and Arlene Kids. There was however a notable absence of ear plugs to cover the ears of children, especially those participating in the parade as advised by the Minister of Public Health.

The list of foreign troupes in the Carnival celebrations continues to increase each year. This year’s parade featured Hot n Spicy St. Martin Cultural Events with a troupe called Rio Fioles, Supreme Star of Aruba,  and a troupe from Antigua and Barbuda, Estreno di Pikete troupe of Curacao with larger than life costumes and a Dominicano troupe. Continuing its trend of elaborate and creative costumes, the Curacao troupe did not disappoint with depictions that transformed crowded streets into the world of  Disney, Alice in Wonderland and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

As is customary, the procession started in St. John’s Estate around 10:00 am, with the police, St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF) and the Junior, Teen, Senior, Mature and Zomer Carnival queens as well as their runners up leading the charge. It snaked its way down LB Scot Road in Cul-de-Sac before turning the roundabout and heading down Bush Road. Along the route, Carnival lovers lined the streets to get a glimpse of the creativity involved in Carnival, take pictures and acquire numerous gifts and souvenirs from branded merchandise to sweets and beverages. When the procession reached Front Street, tourists joined in the revelry dancing to hits like  Rolly Polly. After moving at a snail’s pace through Front Street, the parade entered Emmaplein, took a left over the bridge, headed onto Buncamper Road, around Sundial School round-a-bout, continued along Walter JA Nisbeth Road, around the Soualiga round-about, through Soualiga Boulevard and ended at St. Maarten Festival Village.
This year’s parade was filled with glitz and glamour as most designers used gold and silver dusted body paint, opulent costume jewelry, and rhinestone covered feathers for headpieces and fabric. Dominant colors included fuchsia, silver and purple.

Veteran producer Brenda Meyers-Wathey exited the Carnival scene with a finale called The Great Gatspy, a troupe that parodied characters from the Hollywood movie of the same name. While Wathey’s troupe was much smaller than previous years, this did not stop members from enjoying the ultimate party. Meyers-Wathey had earlier announced that this would be her last year as a mas camp producer.

Each troupe had between 1 to 3 live bands or sound systems creating a cacophony of sound that created a festive atmosphere. They included No Limit, Youth Waves, Impakt,The Ebony Steel Orchestra, Prince HD and Unique Band, Rohie Ryddim, District, Ultra Sonic, TJT Music, 4M and Control Bands.

Via its Facebook page, the SCDF congratulated all winners on Thursday morning.

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