The Carnival programme
MARIGOT--President of the French-side Carnival Committee (Association Festivités Carnavalesque de Saint-Martin FCDSM) Luciana Raspail presented a packed programme for the 2024 Carnival at a press conference Monday.
Pre-events begin in January in the four districts before getting into the main Carnival events in February.
“Our aim is to present a carnival that’s inclusive, innovative, and fully participated in by the population,” said Raspail, who returns to the role since her stint as President 2017-2020.
The board will focus on four main pillars during its three-year mandate. The first is cultural documentation, delving into archives to find out more about the history and essence of Carnival in St. Martin to enlighten the population.
The second is inter-generational transmission, getting the younger generation involved so they understand why it is organised and have a sense of belonging, so that they too in the future can be part of organising carnival.
The third pillar is artistic innovation. The board wants to introduce different art forms to carnival in addition to music and costumes.
The fourth pillar is community engagement.
“One of four weaknesses on the French side is lack of participation by the community on the whole. We know why and we’re working on it. That’s the reason we are starting our communication and community awareness very early,” said Raspail. “In this respect we are very active on social media to engage the community.”
Pre-events (Get Fit 2 Fête, Barventure, and Touch the Road Drum parade, in that order) take place in French Quarter on January 5, 6, and 7; in Grand Case on January 12, 13 and 14; in Sandy Ground on January 19, 20 and 21; and in Marigot on January 26, 27, and 28. Friday, January 26, is the finale of Get Fit 2 Fête, and there will also be an All-White Full Moon Party: Carnival edition.
“Get Fit 2 Fête” is a Zumba night to get in shape for Carnival under the rhythm of Soca. New this year is “Barventure”, an after-work event to dive into the musical universe of Carnival.
The committee is focusing on engaging schools and families with events like the first “Inter-Scholastic Carnival Showdown” for four school levels, “Carnival Quest” and “Carnival Story”, where everyone can participate. Additionally, new events such as “Poetic Monarch” and "Jazz and Wine" have been added to attract poetry and jazz enthusiasts, always centred around the Carnival theme.
Traditional parades and “jump-ups” are still on the programme, but new exciting elements have been added to cater to all tastes.
A space has been granted in the Christmas Village on December 23 to present the adult carnival parade costumes. The committee is assisting the troupes financially for their costumes and is assisting the carnival trucks with their expenses. Currently, nine troupes are registered for the adult parade on February 11 and four children’s troupes so far.
The Carnival Village will no longer be in Galisbay, but on the Marigot waterfront. St. Martin Tourism Office and the Collectivité are the main sponsors of Carnival.