PHILIPSBURG - The St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF) will again host a month’s worth of activities for Carnival 2017 which according to the foundation is being dictated by the rapid and enormous growth of the festival.
As it prepares to release its tentative schedule next week, the foundation announced that Carnival activities will kick-off as early as mid-March and end May 4. “The days of Carnival being crammed into two weeks with a handful of pre-Carnival events, are long gone. This is our new reality,” President of the SCDF Alston Lourens said.
He explained that the amount of Carnival initiatives and events which visitor and residents look forward to are growing every year. The result of this, he pointed out, is much earlier economic activity throughout the island with visitors travelling to the country much earlier to catch the pre-Carnival events as well.
Providing some insight into the 2017 schedule, Lourens disclosed that before Carnival Village officially opens, some 10 events will already have been held. “And by the time the Village opens, there will be still another three weeks of Carnival to go. The great thing is this is a controlled growth because this is exactly what we envisioned when we changed our business approach a few years ago,” he said.
“We were prepared for this and ready for even more growth when we implement new initiatives starting in 2017 that has specifically to do with expanding the reach of our festival in key source markets,” he added. Lourens also said that efforts are underway to secure the cooperation and partnership of the Culture Department to ensure that Carnival’s cultural aspects is included in its rapid growth.
Carnival lovers can expect the return of a number of popular local events complimented by about seven international events, road events and the North Eastern Caribbean’s largest Jouvert. “We always challenge ourselves year-over-year. How are we going to top the last Carnival year? We always strive to do better. With the cooperation of our stakeholders and private sector partners, we hope to successfully meet that goal again in 2017,” Lourens said.