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SCDF launches Carnival 2023 Calendar, excited for 21 days of “fettin season”

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF) on Thursday released the official Carnival schedule of events for Carnival 2023. “Fettin season,” as it is locally called, will run from April 14 until May 3, 2023, 21 days of Carnival that invites the world to “Come, Experience Life” on St. Maarten. The schedule of events also features 6 days of pre-Carnival events beginning March 17, 2023.

“This is the first normal Carnival we will have since our 50th Anniversary in 2019. The foundation has suffered two years of pandemic and one year of unexpected turmoil and challenges that we are still dealing with. But we have never met a challenge we could not overcome. So it will be good to make good on 2022 and get back to some sense of normalcy for Carnival 2023 and have a damn good season,” President of the SCDF Edwardo Radjouki said. The schedule was designed by local graphic designer Cleon Frederick and will be mass-produced by Republic Bank, SCDF’s official banking partner. It includes photography from Howard Villarreal.

The official part of the schedule kicks off with strictly local themes in the first week of the festival. The Cultural Night continues to grow and will be back, so is the Pan Explosion spectacle featuring St. Maarten’s best pan players. A King & Queen of the Band Competition is on the schedule which Radjouki is adamant to bring back into Carnival, having won this competition multiple times himself in the past. The schedule also includes a Junior Calypso Competition which the SCDF is attempting to host in collaboration with the schools and cooperation of the Culture Department.

Other local events featured include the Nagico Senior Calypso Competition, Band Clash & Roadmarch Competitions, a Family Fun Day, the Village Cook-Up and Cock-Up and the Youth Extravaganza. The schedule also has a Free Chill Night in Carnival Village. TelEm is also slated to host The Groove Soca Competition in the first week. Prior to the start of Carnival 2023, the foundation has given various local groups the opportunity to host Road to Carnival Events as warm-ups to the official start of Carnival on April 14. Social media outlet “Carnival Corner”, local band The Big Bad XP and local event promoter SIK, will each get to host a Road to Carnival event.

The SCDF will also bring back its normal compliment of road events for Carnival 2023 including Jouvert Morning Jump-Up which the foundation expects to be bigger and more energetic than ever. There will also be a Causeway Jump-Up, Opening Jump-Up, A Children’s Parade, Grand Parade, Second Day Parade followed by the event known as Jamrade and a Closing Jump-Up.

Not to be outdone, complementing the local events will be seven international shows led by Carnival’s flagship event “Night of the Hit Makers” which will celebrate its 10th Anniversary in 2023. Two new promoters will host an R&B night and a Zouk concert, and popular brand-named shows will also be back: Caribbean Flag Fest, Bacchanal Sunday, Noche Latina, II Brothers Entertainment/One Love Reggae.

The SCDF also made a concerted effort not to schedule any events during Holy Week and the Easter Weekend, as well as not staging any parade on a Sunday to avoid disturbing any church services. “The work is underway to complete the preparations for all of these events. While organizing 2023, we are still closing an extremely challenging 2022, which was probably the worst Carnival we have had financially due to an ocean of issues. There are still some open matters to take care of and they will be handled. So while dealing with that we have to move on and deal with the next Carnival, such is the life of the board of the SCDF and we sincerely apologize to those affected and appreciate the cooperation and patience extended to us,” Radjouki said.

The SCDF has constructed the 2023 schedule with strict financial limitations in mind. In other words, coming off of a financially challenging Carnival year, shows that require a complete financial restructuring in order to be viable and sustainable are not included on the schedule for 2023. This includes the four of the Carnival Pageants and the Soulful Company concert.

He continued: “As usual the public will be getting a heavy dose of Carnival from here on out. We are excited to announce the plans we have especially for the local events. We value the promoters who put in hard work to deliver quality international shows for Carnival. The foundation will focus on the local events and put more emphasis and energy there. Together, we will present a season of Carnival that won’t soon be forgotten,” Radjouki said.

Season pass prices will be announced next week. All inquiries about St. Maarten Carnival 2023 should be emailed to info@sxm-carnival.com



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